Conservatories have been a growing trend in the UK for some time now as they provide an exterior space without residents having to worry about the usual and frequent downpours that one experiences. 

They also prove to be quite cost-effective (with a starting price of approximately £5,000) in raising the value of one’s property (rough estimates cite this to be a 7 per cent increase) and proving to be much affordable as compared to extensions. Conservatory Prices In 2021: The Ultimate UK Cost Guide is a helpful resource for those looking for ideas and cost estimates to build a conservatory.

Does Having A Conservatory Affect Council Tax?

No, the law clearly states that additions/modifications or extensions to property including having a conservatory will not affect council tax for the property until it is sold. 

This means that as long as the owners who have made such alterations to the property’s structure continue living in the property, there will be no revaluation done with the intention of increasing council tax on the premises. 

However, if there is an annexe or a self-contained unit added to the property, there will be a revaluation of the premises and a possible revision of the previously assigned council tax.

To learn more, we will explore the following areas through this article:

  • Do You Need Planning Permission For A Conservatory?
  • Are Conservatories Exempt From Building Regulations?
  • Do You Have To Pay Council Tax When Renovating A Property?
  • What Kind Of Changes To Property Affect My Council Tax Bill?
  • How Much Do Home Renovations Cost In The UK?
  • Can I Apply For A Council Tax Discount For Home Renovations?

Do You Need Planning Permission For A Conservatory?

According to Planning Permission terms, conservatories are included in permitted development; which means that a separate approval is not required at the time of construction as long as the following terms are met:

  • A conservatory cannot be bigger than 50 per cent of the area surrounding the main house.
  • In the case of a detached house, the conservatory can extend backward (from the rear wall of the main house) to a maximum of eight metres and in the case of semi-detached houses the limit is six metres.
  • A conservatory built in the rear of the house cannot be higher than 4 metres.

However, in case of the following events, Planning Permission will be needed by the resident(s) prior to the building of the conservatory:

  • More than 50 per cent of the surrounding area of the main house is going to be covered by the conservatory.
  • The conservatory is going to be built either on the front of the main house or on a road-facing side.
  • The resident lives in a designated area or in a listed building.
  • The height of the conservatory is going to be higher than the highest point on the roof of the main house.

Are Conservatories Exempt From Building Regulations?

Generally speaking, yes. Conservatories are exempt from Building Regulations as long as they fulfil the below criteria:

  • The conservatory is going to be built at ground level.
  • It will be less than 30 square metres in floor area.
  • The conservatory is going to be separated from the main house (by external quality walls, doors or windows).
  • It will have an independent heating system as well as individual temperature and regulatory controls.
  • Fixed electrical installations and glazing are confirmed to be in compliance with building regulations. 

Do You Have To Pay Council Tax When Renovating A Property?

If the property is uninhabitable due to the renovations that are being made to it and the nature of work includes structural changes or major home repairs, residents will be exempt from paying council tax for the tenure of the process. 

However, if you are unable to qualify for an exemption from council tax, certain home repairs may count you as eligible for a council tax reduction; while renovations that do not affect everyday living and the property remains occupied while work proceeds will not qualify for either an exemption or a discount.

You may be able to avail of a discount on your council tax bill if any of the following repair works are being done at your home:

  • repair of roof structures or foundations 
  • rebuilding of external walls or chimney stacks, 
  • replacement of floors 
  • removal of internal walls (not partitions)

What Kind Of Changes To Property Affect My Council Tax Bill?

There are certain circumstances due to which properties may be revalued and their bands reassigned by the local council. Below is a list of factors that may cause a change in band:

  • a part of your property is demolished and is not rebuilt
  • the property is altered to subdivide it into self-contained units, (this could be a single unit with an annexe – each unit will be considered under a separate band) 
  • a single property is reconstructed into self-contained flats
  • flats are converted to a single property
  • residents start or stop working from home
  • changes were made to property the property by the previous owner
  • significant changes such as a new road are being made to the local area
  • the council tax band was changed for a property with similar features in the same area

While some of the changes listed above are directly related to renovations and repairs being made to premises and they also might be in control of the resident, some might be involuntary and external changes that do have an impact on council tax bills. 

How Much Do Home Renovations Cost In The UK?

According to House Renovation Cost in 2021 it may cost you around £80,000 to renovate (with major changes)  a three-bedroom house in the UK. However, depending on the nature of individual repairs and modifications required, the cost of minor changes may vary. Below is a quick guide:

  • New heating system: £5,500
  • New gas supply: £1,500
  • Rewiring: £5,750
  • Replastering of walls: £2,500 to £15,000
  • New kitchen: £10,000 to £25,000
  • New bathroom: £4,750

The best way to proceed is to prepare a list of changes that you would like to make and then arrange a survey of your premises to learn about the expected expenses. Here is a link to guide you How Much Are House Survey Costs in 2021?

Can I Apply For A Council Tax Discount For Home Renovations?

To be able to qualify for a council tax discount while your home is being renovated, you must inform your local council office prior to the commencement of the repair work at your premises (or as soon as possible once the work starts. If the claimant informs their local council after the renovations are complete, they will be required to provide substantial evidence to be considered for a council tax discount.

The next steps will be as follows:

Step 1: The council contacts the residents and sends a representative to survey the premises.

Step 2: If the property qualifies for a discount, the reduced amount of council tax will remain applicable for an entire year (this may be up to a 100 per cent discount).

Step 3: Once the property becomes inhabited, residents liable for council tax payments must inform their local council within 21 days.

Step 4 (a): If the property remains unfurnished and uninhabited for less than 2 years, a full council tax bill becomes applicable.

Step 4 (b): If the property remains unfurnished and uninhabited for more than 2 years, residents will be liable to pay a premium called “empty house premium”. This is an additional charge over and above the full amount of their council tax bill.

Conclusion:

As long as conservatories meet the requirements set by Building Regulations and Planning Permission residents will not need formal approval prior to construction. However, it is best to consult in detail with your builder before work commences on the property.

While the addition of a conservatory increases the value of one’s property, the revaluation does not come into effect unless the property is about to be sold. This is also when the revaluation of the property leads to a possible change in the council tax band; thus increasing council tax payments as a result in an increase in the value of the premises.

FAQs: Does Having A Conservatory Affect Council Tax? 

What is classed as a conservatory?

Traditionally, conservatories were built adjacent to the main residential property with the purpose of being used as a space to grow plants. Today, they may be used as an extended sitting area/living space. The legal definition of conservatory classes it as a less than 30 square metres space built at ground level which is separated from the main house by walls, doors or windows 

Does conservatory increase house value?

Being an addition to the property, conservatories increase the value of the main house that they are built adjacent to. According to rough estimates, this increase is around 7 per cent.

Is an extension cheaper than a conservatory?

No, it is the other way around. Conservatories are much cheaper as compared to extensions; with a starting price as low as £5,000.

Can I use a conservatory as a bedroom?

Yes, you can use your conservatory as a bedroom. While you will not Planning Permission for this purpose, you must comply with Building Regulations to assure that the structure is resilient enough to withstand a bricked roof. 

How large can a conservatory be without planning permission?

As long as a conservatory is not bigger than 50 per cent of the area surrounding the main house, it can be built without Planning Permission.

References:

Will a conservatory increase council tax? | Conservatories costs

council tax and your conservatory — MoneySavingExpert Forum

New tax for home improvements

Properties uninhabitable due to building repair work | warrington.gov.uk

House Renovation Cost in 2021

How Much Does a House Survey Cost?

Do you need planning permission for a conservatory? (2021)

John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.

John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.