Own a listed property? Thinking of buying one? It can be a bit of a minefield when it comes to these beauties. What can or can't you do?
Well we've spoken to The Listed Property Oweners' Club (LPOC) to give you the run down on some top tips to know when owning and buying a listed property.
1. Recognise your property’s listing
Contrary to popular belief, listing protects the complete building both inside and out (not just the front) and may also include garden walls, courtyards and even statuary within the garden. Some buildings are also “curtilage listed” meaning that if your property is situated within the curtilage of, or attached to a listed building, it may also be listed. Conservation Officers are generally employees of the local council and their role is to ensure the character of the building remains intact. They will be one of your most important points of contact as the officer will grant – or deny - listed building consent. They may even dictate the materials and techniques that you should use to make these changes.
2. Understand the correct permissions required
Applied for via your local planning authority, listed building consent is required when you are looking to alter or extend your listed property in a way that affects the character or appearance of the building. Listed building consent is extremely important as failure to obtain the consent before altering a listed building may result in a fine or even a term of imprisonment.
3. Protect yourself against unauthorised work
If a previous owner made alterations to the building without consent, the local planning authority may require you to reverse those alterations at your own cost. When buying a listed building you should always ensure that suitable searches are carried out in order to make sure that all alterations have the correct consent and that your insurance will cover you should you later discover any unauthorised alterations.
3. Be realistic in your expectations
If you are planning alterations to a listed property, be realistic as to what will be allowed. For instance, permission is unlikely to be granted to add a large modern garage to a small cottage. By working sympathetically with the property, your plans are much more likely to be approved.
4. Work with the property
As old buildings, listed properties often don’t respond well to the application of modern materials. For instance, many cases of damp are actually the result of the introduction of modern, non-breathable materials such as cement or paint which prevent the escape of moisture. In most cases, owners can get the best results for their property by using original traditional methods.
5. Use the correct tradesperson
When seeking out professionals to conduct the work to your home, ensure that they have experience working with listed properties. A specialist tradesperson will understand the vulnerabilities of a period home and how to handle them with care. LPOC has a Supplier’s Directory of trusted tradesmen who are able to provide a trusted service over a multitude of skills.
6. Enjoy the experience
With the right knowledge and advice, owning a listed property can be a wonderful experience. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and guidance from experts and other owners, work closely with your conservation officer, expect the unexpected, and enjoy writing the next chapter in the story of your historic home!
For more information on LPOC or to get more advice, head to www.lpoc.co.uk or call 01795 844939.