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Permission to extend?

In the current housing market, many homeowners are extending their current property rather than moving to a larger property when they find they need some extra space. So who do you need to get permission from before you alter your house?

Depending on the size and nature of the alterations, you may need to obtain planning permission and/or building regulations. Speak to your local authority and they will be able to advise you whether or not you need these permissions. If you are told that you don’t need any approval from the local authority, try and get them to confirm this in writing. This will answer a lot of questions which may be raised when you come to sell the property.

You may also need to get consent from your ground landlord if your property is leasehold or from the original builder if your property is freehold. Many properties are subject to a covenant that you must obtain the consent of a third party before you make any alterations. Check through your deeds to see whether you need to obtain consent.

If you’re building up to a shared or party wall you may also need to get permission from your neighbour under the Party Wall Act. It’s always a good idea to let your neighbours know what your plans are in any event, so they are aware there may be increased noise whilst the building works are going on.

If you are not planning to start the work right away, the Government has recently announced it is hoping to relax the planning laws governing extensions to homes.

The Government is consulting on allowing people, for a limited period, to build larger extensions on houses without planning permission. Currently permission is needed to build an extension longer than 3m, and the rules could see this doubled to allow up to 6m – a significant extension.