Lea Hough have worked on many Listed buildings over the years, both for homeowner and commercial clients. Listed buildings can be fascinating and for their owners and undertaking restorations can quickly become a real project of love.
However, such Heritage buildings do not come without their issues.
Here are four tips for those considering either purchasing or undertaking improvement works on a Listed building.
In England and Wales, Listed status can be Grade I, Grade II* or Grade II. Before you even begin to plan any work on the property, it’s vital to understand the grading that applies to the property and the corresponding restrictions that are in place.
In the majority of cases, the classification of Listing protects the entire building, both internally and externally. The Listed status may also apply to the curtilage (e.g. outbuildings and even gardens).
Altering a Listed building in a way that affects its character is a criminal offence with a maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment or an unlimited fine.
It’s also worth noting that there is no time limit for enforcement against unauthorised work, by Enforcement Officers at Planning Departments. Therefore, it can be possible to inherit the liability for alterations from a previous owner. When purchasing a Listed property, it’s important to instruct a Chartered Surveyor who has experience of dealing with Listed properties. They will know the types of alterations for which consent would have needed to be sought and can assist with the relevant investigations to check that these were given the green light from the Conservation Officer/Local Planning Authority.
In addition to having to follow procedures and seek approval (Listed Building Consent) for works, it’s worth remembering that any work may need to be undertaken by a specialist contractor, with experience in Heritage works.
Ultimately, the responsibility for any fines that may be issued for work that fails to meet the requirements of the Listed status, and the cost to rectify them, will fall to the property owner.
Alongside having to comply with a certain appearance, the materials that are to be used in works are renovations are likely to have to be as close a match to the original as possible. As such, the outlay for materials is likely to be costly, and the ongoing maintenance of these will also often come with a price.
For more information or to seek specialist advice on the purchase or restoration of a Listed property, please contact us.