Financial & Legal News

Buying a House with Planning Conditions

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“I want to buy a house that has planning conditions, should I be concerned?”

Research shows that 60% of first time buyers live in their property for less than five years before moving on and more people are favouring newer properties with the intention that the property will be more energy efficient and have less maintenance costs in the long run. However, properties that have been built within the last 10 years or have had major works undertaken recently are burdened by planning conditions.

What are planning conditions?

Planning conditions are in place to require that something is done or not done by the developer in order to make the development acceptable. Section 70 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 permits a local authority to impose planning conditions “as they think fit”. This means that planning conditions can vary from property to property.

All conditions must be complied with and if any of the conditions or limitations on a planning permission are not complied with, this constitutes a breach of planning control.

Breach of Planning Condition

A breach of condition is when planning permission has been granted and the conditions which are generally attached are not adhered to.

Breaches to planning do not always just concern a one off property, as in a case which hit the headlines involving a whole housing estate.

Some 263 homeowners in Cheshire are facing their entire estate being torn down, despite the homes being built, the planning permission was lost last year as the developer has failed to deal with a condition relating to contaminated land.

Breach of planning condition 4 year rule

The four year rule applies to specific types of breaches of planning conditions such as building, engineering and mining. The four year rule does not apply to other types of breaches of planning conditions, in these cases the ten year applies. Essentially what this means is that the local planning office have 10 years from the date that the works are completed to enforce the conditions. In some cases, the local planning office can obtain an injunction to deal with the breach of conditions.

The government are currently in the process of reforming the law surrounding enforcement of planning conditions and the proposed Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill is currently at report stage at the House of Lords. The major aim of the proposed legislation is to change the time limit for enforcing breaches of planning to ten years for all types of breaches.

“When buying a house your solicitor should proceed with all the appropriate searches and checks.  It always pays to double check any extensions and modifications have the appropriate certificates and permissions in place as planning departments are becoming increasingly proactive,” warns Residential Conveyancing Executive, Emma Collinson.

“It can come as a nasty surprise to find out the extension that tempted you to buy a property has not got permission and ignorance is no defence, once the property is in your ownership you are responsible,” add Emma Collinson.

How can we help?

If you are in the process of selling or buying a property and have concerns over a planning condition or potential breach in planning control contact our residential conveyancing team on 0161 785 3500 or

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

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