Why Is Planning Permission Important?

Planning permission in Property Law is the permission or approval that is required before different levels of construction, expansion or demolition can take place.

When is planning permission required?

Planning permission is required whenever you are constructing something new, when changes are being made to an existing building, such as building an extension, or when you are changing the function of a building.

In some cases, planning permission is also required when adding to or extending a flat or maisonette (this also includes those that have been converted from houses), when you are dividing part of your house to use as another home (e.g. a bed-sit), using a building or caravan in your garden as a different residence for another person, building a separate house in your garden, or when building something that has not been agreed upon under the original planning permission for your property.

These planning permissions should be applied for and granted before any construction project begins, and can usually be done through your Local Planning Authority (LPA).

You can either do the planning application yourself, or you may employ an agent to help you with it.

Whenever you make a planning permission application, a fee will be required by the planning office. The fee will be based on the difficulty and complexity of your planning application, but all details will be confirmed by your planning office beforehand.

Why is getting planning permission important?

Without planning permission on a building project, you will likely be served an enforcement notice which will order you to undo all the changes carried out.

Note: it is illegal to ignore an enforcement notice and legal action will be taken by the council or the Department for Infrastructure (DfI).

Considerations for planning

Whenever you plan to start the building work on your property, it is in your best interest to consider the approvals that may be required, and obtaining the respective planning permission.

You may also want to inform your neighbours about any building work that you are planning on your property.

You should also think about the overall design of the property, taking into consideration your planned works, and how this might look (when finished) in respect to the other houses and surrounding area.

And as a final check, you should always look for any restrictions or covenants within the title of your property, as well as any conditions in the lease agreement that someone else might need to review and approve of, before you carry out any work on the property.