New permitted development rules for London homeowners

25th November 2021

London is set to build a lot of houses that could transform the appearance of the city and its emotional touch to the people. This changes will come with advantages and disadvantages. The mayor confirmed that London does not have adequate homes. Although the available official data shows that 10,890 homes were completed in London from January to June 2021, there is need for 66,000 homes every year in order for the houses to adequately serve the increasing population. Many people have been buying or expanding their properties as evidenced by the present high house prices and the current hefty moving costs. However, this current trend is set to change with the proposed planning changes that are to take place. The proposed changes are as follows.


Permitted development

This government scheme is set to allow developers and homeowners to expand or renovate their properties as well as convert commercial properties into homes. This will be done within the limitations provided by the government. Paul Vink, the Founder of Paul Vink architects commented on the permitted development quoting that it is not a new venture since people have been developing their properties before. However, the new directives would mean that the rules are no longer as punitive as the current ones. This new initiative will however not include all properties since permitted development rights do not apply to flats and maisonettes. Furthermore, listed properties are not covered under Permitted Development Rights.


In addition, the resistance staged by some London boroughs on local planning control have resulted to the exclusion of Permitted Development Rights within the designated parts of the borough. They pulled this off by issuing Article 4 Directions. More of this is going to be witnessed since the City of London Corporation and Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea are planning to issue Article 4 Directions across their entire jurisdiction for some building works.


What am I allowed to do in my home under permitted development?

As documented, the extended Permitted Development Rights for home owners are very clear. They allow households to develop their properties by extending them to the back and the side. Furthermore, they are allowed to convert the loft or the garage into a living room as well as add two storey extensions without waiting for the planning permission. However, all homeowners will have to ensure that the extensions are in line with the scheme’s strict design criteria. For more detail see


The household permitted development may be quicker and cheaper, but it can easily pose challenges in future especially in the case where the owner sells the property. Since the owner is given the right to expand the property unsupervised, he/she may exercise those rights without really working within the given jurisdictions. A prospective buyer will later on acquire the property without the knowledge that the shiny new kitchen extension is non-compliant. The new owner is likely to have problems with the authority.


Therefore, Paul Vick recommends that households should get a Lawful Development Certificate before building. This certification takes the same period of time as planning application. However, it does not focus on the planning office’s opinion or the neighbour’s objections, it crucially focuses on whether the extension is in accordance with the stipulated rules. Furthermore, it costs nearly half of the normal planning fee hence leaving the owner with enough money to consult an architect for help with the application and accompanying materials.


This move is advantageous since each property only gets one permitted development budget per piece of work. This is benchmarked against how the property stood in the first July of 1948. Any extensions done since then are acknowledged.


The rise of rooftop homes

Increased permitted development rights will not favour those living in blocks or flats because their rights are withheld. Only the freeholder is allowed to add two additional storeys on properties built after 1948 without seeking for planning permission. Therefore, flat owners can take control of the flat skyward ambitions to build or not to build by exercising their collective right to enfranchisement and jointly buying the freehold. This can only materialise if at least half of the leaseholders participate. They have to take legal advice and consult a surveyor before commencing.


If you require an advice or free quote for your project, our team will hapilly answer your questions. Please contact us and we will get in touch as soon as we can.

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