Listed Building Purchase Issues - advice needed.

Run away.

Planning consent is one thing, but the Building Control people may not approve the only things the Historic England will approve, and you are stuck in the middle. As Building standards evolve with time and the influence of people like Greta you may find that the changes may have been OK standards wise at the time, but they no longer meet the current standards. This why searches look for work that has not been issued a completion certificate, it can get very expensive even before the history buffs descend. Modifications like Crittall windows which were not original are much liked by some conservation officers, and you are stuck with draughty single glazing.

Even if you got away with it now, unless fully resolved you may have issues when if comes time to sell.
Most of that is nonsense. Historic England take a pretty pragmatic view on keeping listed buildings in use because in the long term that is the only thing that guarantees their survival. They've written some pretty progressive guidance on how thye can be modernised and even how they can be made more environmentally friendly. How diffcult they may be to sell deends a lot on the property. Listing doesn't seem to cause too many problems in the upper end of the market, but don't expect to be able to put Everest windows in a two-bed terrace in Saltaire.
 

Daxx

MIA
Book Reviewer
Save yourself the headache and buy a normal house.
 
Speak to Historic England.



Also, have a good read of the title deeds, it will show the covenants and easements for the property.
Sound advice, but Historic England devolved responsibility for Grade II listed buildings to local authorities a few years ago. They don't get out of bed for anything ledss than Grade II*. The local council Conservation Officer would be the go-to for the OP, but the HE advice is worth a read.
 

giatttt

War Hero
Most of that is nonsense. Historic England take a pretty pragmatic view on keeping listed buildings in use because in the long term that is the only thing that guarantees their survival. They've written some pretty progressive guidance on how thye can be modernised and even how they can be made more environmentally friendly. How diffcult they may be to sell deends a lot on the property. Listing doesn't seem to cause too many problems in the upper end of the market, but don't expect to be able to put Everest windows in a two-bed terrace in Saltaire.

They have some excellent people and lots of helpful resources to those working with old materials and methods of construction. That does not always flow down to the individual on the ground standing in your garden sucking their teeth.
 
They have some excellent people and lots of helpful resources to those working with old materials and methods of construction. That does not always flow down to the individual on the ground standing in your garden sucking their teeth.
As I've mentioned a couple of times above, the bigger problem are the local autority conservation officers who now deal with all Grade II listed buildings (i.e. the vast majority of cases). Their general flakiness is well documented, and in my experience they are much more likely to take a 'preserve it in aspic' approach than HE.

Outcomes are also often hugely affected by when and how the relevant bodies are aproached. A former colleague was involved in a recent case involving a TV makover show gone 'wrong', and his opinion was that they bent over backwards not to cause any unnecessary inconvenience (where planning law allowed them to), but that this didn't make for good television. Nor did the fact that it was the developer's own fault for not seeking advice and/or consent before starting work.
 

anglo

LE
OK, I'm in the process of buying a Grade-2 listed building. In the midst of what our solicitors are doing, they have discovered not all work done to the building, which would require permission, has actually had that. My layman's understanding from what said solicitor has told us, is that there is sign of planning permission, but not the bit you do with whoever approves stuff in listed buildings.

We understand that the liability sits with the current owners, and at any given moment, that could take the form of enforcement action requiring the work to be reversed back to how it was and potentially a fine. I am not clear if it comes with a criminal record or if it is a 'civil' matter.

We don't hugely want to take on anything where there could be a come back, we have asked the seller to get retrospective planning permission, but they aren't keen. It would seem the work might have been done before they bought the house and their solicitors may not have clocked it. I think they are wary that asking for retrospective may result in enforcement action as they reveal they inadvertently inherited the issue.

I was hoping to get some advice from people on here who may have more experience:

1. How quick/easy is retrospective permission (the work is internal cosmetic and hasn't changed the purpose or outside look of the house)?

2. Would asking for retrospective permission automatically attract an enforcement visit?

3. I hear of some sort of 'indemnity insurance' that can pay out if reversing work is necessary. However, is that like (layman's terms again, sorry) medical cover where if you know of an existing condition when you apply, you won't get it?

Any thoughts appreciated, it is definitely Grade 2 listed which I understood meant you could crack on internally as long as you didn't change the outer shape or purpose of the building.

I did maintenance on a listed building for two years, my advice is
If you are extremely rich [and I mean extremely] go ahead and buy the place,
it will help you spend your money, very quickly.
On the hand if you are not extremely rich
Walk away now
 

Longlenny

War Hero
Book Reviewer
If the option is still open.................walk away, it really is not worth it.
I had a very 'close' working relationship with a conservation officer (female) a while ago.
These people are a pain and can be vindictive. In the Fenland area anyway.
They really are enthusiastic in there passion for dragging buildings back to eighteen hundred and frozen to death

I can agree with this, I am currently converting a school built in 1861 into a house. The building control man wanted me to fit wooden windows, double glazed with trickle vents. The conservation control officer wanted wooden windows, single glazed without trickle vents. They both work for the same council but it appears that they don't speak to each other. Very helpful, the *******.
 
CHaps just to come back and say thanks for all the thoughts and advice, all very useful. Upshot is we're going to give this a miss and go for something not listed.
 
Very wise. Life is tough enough without injecting bureacracy and jobsworths.
I'd hardly call Inspectors of Ancient Monuments or a Conservation Officers jobsworths, although there are exceptions to the rule.

Whether we like it or not, if a building has met the criteria to be designated as being of national importance then it's worth the effort of preserving what makes it special. If you don't feel the same then there are plenty of non-designated houses out there.
 

sand_rat

Old-Salt
As a man who had the word 'surveyor' in his job title before doing that early retirement thing, my comments are:

As mentioned above you will need pots and pots of cash to take on a Listed Building.

Next any alterations to a LB (depending on the alterations} requires both planning and LB consent.

LB can be either inside or outside or both, ie Blenheim palace will require both but a scabby old picture house in Stratford can have any thing on the outside but the inside which is 'art decor' needs permission.

First thing to do is go direct to the Local Authority and tell them of the alleged changes, see what they say, basically 'grass up' the sellers. You cannot lose.
 

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