Checking planning permission before buying

In this brief guide, we are going to discuss: checking planning permission before buying. Checking the planning permission of a home can help you negotiate better.

What is planning permission?

Planning permission is written consent you get from the local council when looking to carry out development work on your property.

You won’t always need to get planning permission. Planning permission is generally needed when the work you need to carry will affect the structure or size of the building.

Before you carry any work out you should check with your local council on whether you need planning permission or not. If you start a development without planning permission and it is discovered later down the line then the local council could instruct you to take it down. This means you will have lost all the money you had invested in the property.

This is why it is also worth checking if a property has planning permission before you buy it as some properties may indeed not have any planning permission for the development work that they have done and if you buy these properties you may very well be taking on the liability.

Some of the work which may require planning permission includes:

Solar panels

Gates or higher walls

Internal work on any listed building

Two storey buildings

Side extensions

Building a permanent outbuilding e.g a garage

What is ‘permitted development’?

Permitted developments are things which do not require any development at all. There are various development works which do not require any planning permission at all but this may be different from council to council so you should check with your local council on what is permitted development for them.

Permitted development could also be referred to as ‘permitted development rights.

Checking planning permission before buying

Checking planning permission before buying is something you can do. You can check on the local council’s website to see if the property you want to buy has any planning permission for further developments or planning permission for some of the structural features of the house.

By checking the planning permission before you buy you will be able to see what stage the planning permission process is for, if the planning permission was rejected and why it was rejected.

If you want to check planning permission before you buy the property you can either contact the local council or start a check on this website.

A smart thing to do before buying a house will be checking its planning permission before committing to buying the property. This is the minimum due diligence you should carry.

Your conveyancer may also check the planning permission of your home as part of the searches which they carry out.

You can also make a planning permission application for land which you do not own or on a property which you intend to buy under the below circumstances “ You (a) either need to have been the sole owner for at least 21 days before submitting the planning application, or (b) you need to give notice to all owners before submitting the application if (a) doesn’t apply. 

If you are planning to do some work to a property and you are wondering how submitting planning permission before completing the purchase on the property, the common consensus is that you should only submit a planning permission once you have exchanged contracts as this ensures that the seller cannot back out of the contract and try to gazang you by withdrawing from the sale and trying to relist the property at a much higher price.

What does the seller need to tell you?

You may be wondering what the seller may need to reveal as you are buying their house. Should they tell you if they have done work recently,  should they tell you if they had planning permission for the work etc.

You must remember that it is a “buyers beware” market which means that the seller is not obliged to inform you of anything and it is your responsibility to find out the information you require to make a buying decision.

The upside is that when you request the information from a seller, they can not give you incorrect information.

If you find out that a property has had work done and no planning permission has been granted you may then have to decide if it is worth buying it or not based in the risks and reward if any.

The TA6 Property Information Form

Your conveyancer will provide the sellers conveyancer or the seller TA6 property information form where the seller will have to fill in the details requested on the form.

The TA6 property information form  will include information on things such as:


Japanese Knotweed

Planning permissions

Fixtures list

Gas certificates etc

For any work done on the property, the seller should also produce the completion certificates and building regulations approval issued by the council and the planning permissions.

The TA6 property information form will also ask the seller if there were any issues with the planning permission if there are outstanding planning permission issues or any work being done on the property which requires planning permissions and is hence unfinished.

Your conveyancer will then follow up based on the answers provided n the TA6 property information form and in some cases may recommend that you carry out a property survey to ensure everything is brought to light.

The downside

In some cases, after checking the planning permission before buying a building you will notice that the building either doesn’t have planning permission for the work that they have carried out, the work has not been signed off by a building inspector or the building work which has been done is not compliant with building regulations.

These issues are bad news but they may not affect your decision to buy the house. F the buyer has misled you on theTA6 property information form or on any document then you may be able to sue them for damages.

The effects of the above will leave you with some of the below consequences:

Resale value:

If you are unable to rectify any of the issues then you should be aware that the resale value of the property may fall and you may not be able to get as much as you paid for the property in correlation to any house price growth when you want to sell the property. If the property value falls so much you could also face negative equity which may make it very hard for you to get a remortgage.

Getting a Mortgage

Getting a mortgage for these sort of properties may be much harder for yourself and even if you do succeed because you are a cash buyer the next pool of buyers on the market when you come round to selling the property may be mostly mortgage borrowers and this will make it much harder for you to get a reasonable price with such a small market of cash buyers.

Alteration costs

The costs of putting everything right may also be very substantial. You should consider this before buying the property.

FAQs: Checking planning permission before buying

Can you find out about planning permission before buying a house?

Yes, you can find out about the planning permission before buying a house by making a request to the local council.

Can you apply for planning permission on someone else’s land?

Yes, you can apply for planning permission on someone else land as long as you give notice to the landowner.

Do you need an architect for planning permission?

No, you do not need an architect for planning permission but architects may be very helpful as some will have experience of what the councils may be looking for and hence may be able to put your application together in a manner in which the council approves it quicker.

What can you do without planning permission?

There are a lot of things you can do without planning permission but these are relatively minor things known as permitted developments they include:

Installing roof lights
Converting a loft
Single storey extensions
Multi-storey extensions
Remodelling your interiors
Replacing windows or doors

Does planning permission Cost?

Yes, most councils have a cost for their planning permission applications.

In some cases, though you may not need to pay a planning permission fee e.g listed buildings.

Does planning permission increase house value?

Planning permission does not necessarily increase the value of a house but this is all dependant on the difficulty in getting it, the time required and the uniqueness of the planning permission in the local area.

What reasons can planning permission be refused?

There are many reasons why your planning permission may be refused they include:

The building is out of character with the local area

Offensive structures

Causing loss of light

Overshadowing or overlooking other homes

Causing a loss of privacy

Use a mortgage broker when buying

You may want to consider using an independent mortgage broker to get a mortgage.

Mortgage brokers are important as they can access mortgage products from across the whole of the market in some cases. This could be over 11,000 mortgage products. This may have some advantages than going directly to a mortgage lender.

A mortgage broker will look to understand your financial circumstances and then provide recommendations on which mortgage products may be suitable for you.

After giving you these mortgage recommendations, most mortgage brokers will seek your consent to apply for a mortgage in principle. This will allow you to shop for your home easier as more estate agents and sellers may take you seriously or it will give you confidence that your remortgage is indeed a possibility before you make a full mortgage application. Once you have found a home you want to buy or are satisfied with the mortgage offer for your remortgage then the mortgage broker will then look to get you a mortgage offer.

This will come with a key facts illustration document which details out the features of your mortgage including how much you will pay per month if there are any limits such as early repayment fees, or annual overpayment limits.

If you are happy with everything you can then go on to secure your mortgage with the help of a conveyancer. Your conveyancer will manage the legal searches on the property to ensure there aren’t any issues with it, they will oversee the sales agreement to ensure it is in your best interest, they will manage the transfer of mortgage funds, exchange contracts with the seller or their conveyancer and set a completion date with the seller or their conveyancer.

In this brief guide, we discussed: checking planning permission before buying. If you have any questions or comments please let us know.

If you need financial advice and you live in the UK then you could contact the Money Advice service over the phone or via chat for impartial advice.

You can also contact the debt charity “Step Change” if you are in debt and need help.