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Building Regulations 4 year And 10 year Rules Planning

When there has been a breach of planning regulations there are two rules which may be utilised to prevent the property owner from receiving an enforcement action.
The 4-year rule and the 10-year rule may be applied when considering either an unpermitted residential development or a change of use.

22 February 2021
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Eugene Kim

Table of Contents

Your Local Planning Authority (LPA) On The Rules

Your Local Planning Authority (LPA) monitors planning breaches and will enforce the necessary action, if applicable. You may have unintentionally contravened planning regulations or your circumstances may have changed resulting in a breach of the existing permission.

In some cases, you may be protected from enforcement, depending on how long the new arrangement, or breach, has been in place.

The 4-year rule covers any breach of building or operations development which has not been challenged by enforcement action for the period of at least four years.

planning permission home

What The Building Regulations 10 Year Rule & 4 Year Covers

The building regulations 10 year rule covers any breach of use of land or buildings (excluding dwellings) which has not been challenged by enforcement action for the period of at least ten years. N.B. A ‘dwelling’ is deemed by planning law to be a class C3 in terms of use and is covered by the 4-year rule.

The 10-year rule also applies to a breach of any existing planning condition which has not been challenged by enforcement action for the period of at least ten years.

Planning Permission

Conservatory Planning Permission 4 Year Rule Planning

If you think your planning contravention falls under either the 4-year or 10-year rule then you will need to apply for a certificate of lawfulness from your Local Planning Authority. This is a legal document which retrospectively planning permission for the unauthorised development or use of your property and authorises that this may be continued.

You can also apply for traditional planning permission but this will be a lengthy and more costly process.

It is worth noting that if you deliberately deceive your Local Planning Authority and/or conceal the planning breach then enforcement action is likely to be taken.

It is crucial that property and landowners observe the relevant planning laws. If the regulations are not complied with, there could be significant difficulty in selling or even remortgaging the property.

Applying for a Certificate of Lawful Use 10 Year Rule

Applying for a certificate of lawfulness is a complex process and is something that your London architect can help you navigate. You will need to provide a host of documents as evidence that the building has been developed or used as you claim. Depending on your situation, documents required may include tenancy agreements, utility bills, receipts of building works undertaken, to name a few. All will need to span the four or ten year period in question. Your architect will be able to advise you on what is required.

If your application is approved, the Local Planning Authority will provide you with a certificate of lawfulness. You can then be reassured that your property and its use complies with all the necessary regulations.

What is the 10 year rule for mobile homes?

The 10 year rule for mobile homes is a regulation that can significantly impact the value and marketability of these types of properties. This rule states that mobile homes older than 10 years might face financing, insurance, and resale value challenges. While the specifics of this rule can vary by location and lender, buyers and sellers need to understand its potential implications.

The 10 year rule can limit buyers’ financing options. Many lenders have restrictions on loans for mobile homes older than 10 years. If you want to purchase a mobile home over a decade old, you may have difficulty securing a traditional mortgage. Instead, exploring alternative financing options like personal loans or specialised mobile home lenders would be best.

In addition to financing challenges, the 10 year rule can impact mobile home insurance options. Insurance companies may hesitate to provide coverage for older mobile homes due to the increased risks associated with ageing structures. This can result in higher insurance premiums or difficulty finding coverage. Buyers must factor in these potential insurance costs when considering the purchase of an older mobile home.

What is Retrospective Planning Permission

Retrospective planning permission is a process that allows homeowners to seek approval for changes or alterations made to their property without obtaining the necessary permits beforehand. It will enable the property to align with local planning regulations and avoid potential penalties or enforcement action.

Homeowners must apply to their local planning authority for retrospective planning permission. This application should include detailed information about the changes, including architectural drawings, photographs, and other relevant documentation. The planning authority will then assess the application and determine whether to grant retrospective permission.

Retrospective Planning Permission after 10 and 20 Years

Sometimes, the time limit for seeking retrospective planning permission is 10 years. This means homeowners have up to 10 years from when the changes were made to apply for permission. However, it’s worth noting that this time limit may vary depending on the type of alteration and the specific planning authority involved.

In certain situations, such as if the changes were made more than 10 years ago, homeowners may need to apply for a certificate of lawful development instead. This certificate proves that the changes have been in place for a certain period and are immune from enforcement action. However, it’s essential to consult with a planning professional or the local planning authority to determine the best course of action in these cases.

For changes made more than 20 years ago, the likelihood of obtaining retrospective planning permission decreases significantly. Local planning authorities may be less inclined to grant permission for alterations that have been in place for a long time, especially if they do not comply with current planning policies or hurt the surrounding area.

Retrospective Building Regulations Time Limit

The time limit for seeking approval for retrospective building regulations differs from that for planning permission. In most cases, there is no specific time limit for obtaining authorisation for retrospective building regulations.

How Long Does Retrospective Planning Permission Take

The process can generally take several months, and in some cases, it may even stretch to a year or more. Homeowners need to be patient and prepared for potential delays during this time. Engaging with a planning professional or consultant can streamline the process and ensure that all necessary documentation and information are submitted correctly.

Retrospective Planning Permission and the 4-Year Rule

This rule applies to changes made without planning permission that have been in place for 4 years or more. Homeowners must apply for retrospective planning permission to gain official approval for changes made under the 4-year rule. 

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Eugene Kim

Eugene Kim, Founder and Managing Director of Extension Architecture, has led the firm for over 14 years, consistently delivering quality solutions. His dedication has been key to the company's growth and success.

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