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Buying a Listed Building

View profile for Jane Witek
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Are you thinking of buying a listed building? The following are some useful tips when considering purchasing a listed property.

1. What is a listed building?

In simple terms "listing" means that the building is on a national register as a property of architectural or historic importance or interest. This means that its style and substance give it exceptional character. It also means the property owner has a duty to keep it in good repair and to maintain the buildings character.

2. Which bits of the building are included in the listing?

Contrary to popular belief, listing means all the building, both inside and out, plus the area around the building is protected and this applies to all grades including Grade II.

3. Will I be able to alter or extend the building?

You will need to think very carefully about what plans you have for the property before you buy it as the official listing may prevent you from carrying out these plans. You may be able to alter some of the buildings layout, update a kitchen or bathroom or even add an extension, but don't assume so. The local council employs a Conservation Officer who will grant (or withhold) listed consent to make changes.

4. Before I buy what must I look out for?

Unauthorised work by a previous owner can be a problem. Before you purchase the property, you must ensure that all work carried out in the past had listed planning permission. The current owner, not the previous owner who carried out the work, is liable to correct any alterations or additions that do not meet with the Conservation Officer's conditions and standards. As the new owner you will inherit these problems. And there is no time limit on the enforcement of such repairs.

5. What grants are available for Listed Buildings?

Unfortunately, grants are rare but what are available comes from the Conservation Officer.

6. Do I need a special survey?

We would strongly recommend that you use a surveyor that has experience of and is familiar with period properties. The surveyor will be able to advise you on alterations and additions which have already been made to the property and which would have required listed planning permission.

7. Do I need special insurance cover?

If disaster strikes and the Conservation Officer insists you reinstate with similar materials to match the rest of your property would your present household insurer be willing to cover the full costs? You must always check that your preferred insurer provides this cover.

If you are thinking about purchasing a listed property please contact Hughes Paddison's Property Team for a conveyancing quote.

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