Your guide - lawful development certificate







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Often renovation projects such as extensions and loft conversions don't require planning permission as they fall within permitted development - this is great news as it takes away some of the hassle. But how can you be 100% certain that your decision not to apply for planning permission is the correct one? 

We take a look at lawful development certificates and how applying for one may give you peace of mind.

What is a lawful development certificate?

If you don't need planning permission, you can apply for a lawful development certificate which acts as proof that your renovation does not require planning permission and is lawful. Although it is possible to go ahead without a lawful development certificate on the advice of the local authorities website or an architect, it's the only way to be 100% certain that your project did not require planning permission.

How do I apply for a lawful development certificate?

You can make an application to your local planning authority via the governments planning portal. You will need to submit drawings of the existing site and the proposed plans, as well as the site location and pay a fee. 

What's the lawful development certificate fee?

If you are applying for a lawful development for a future renovation project, the fee is currently £103, which is 50% of the planning application fee for the same development. The fee is double if you apply for a lawful development certificate for existing use.

Do remember that unless you are able to carry out the drawings yourself, you may incur additional costs if someone is preparing the drawings and the application on your behalf.

What's the timescale of a lawful development certificate?

Once you have applied to your local authority, you will be granted a planning officer who will make a site inspect, review your plans and your properties planning history. If all goes to plan, you should receive your certificate no later than 8 weeks.

How long is a lawful development certificate valid for?

There is no timescale on a lawful development certificate, the certificate is only to confirm that at the time is was granted, the development was lawful. 

When in the planning process do I need to apply for a lawful development certificate?

Lawful development certificates can be made ahead of starting any work to ensure your proposal is lawful or in retrospect, to prove the existing use of the building is lawful.

It's sensible to apply for a lawful development certificate ahead of carrying out the work, in the event that your local authority reject your application. 

What happens if the lawful development certificate is refused?

You can appeal if your initial application is rejected. However if your application for the lawful development is rejected, it implies that as your current plans stand you will need to apply for planning permission or else change your plans to be within permitted development.

Do I need a lawful development certificate if I don't need planning permission?

It's not compulsory to have a lawful development certificate if your project falls under permitted development, however it will give you certainty. 

If you are planning on moving home in the foreseeable future, it's advisable to get a lawful development certificate so there is no ambiguity during the sale process.

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