timn1423

Explicit permission for bedroom extension

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This relates to a previous topic, so please see that for some more context.

 

My basement flat had an extension built in 1985. I've got hold of a copy of the planning decision (granted in 1984). I'm trying to figure out whether the permission granted would allow the room to be used as a bedroom or if a change of use application would be required. The plans submitted with the application label the room as 'new garden room', but there's no other reference to use. The decision seems entirely boiler plate, there's no mention at all of what the intended use of the room is and there are no restrictions or conditions listed that relate to that. As far as I can tell, the term 'garden room' has no legal definition.

 

So my question is, does a planning decision, particularly one of that era, need to explicitly state that an extension room is or isn't intended to be habitable in order for it to be used as a bedroom?

 

Thanks in advance for your thoughts :)

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In general, a "garden room" would tend to suggest that the planning consent was granted for a non-habitable room, akin to a conservatory.  My guess is that planning consent for this was needed because the flat may not have had Permitted Development rights, as often such an extension would not need planning consent.

 

The key is really compliance with Building Regulations, rather than the planning consent, as it will now be compliance with Building Regulations that dictate whether the room could be classed as habitable I think.  The date is important, but I rather suspect that the applicable date with regard to whether Building Regulations apply may be the date of change of use, rather than the date of the planning consent/construction.

 

Clearly you could convert the room from a garden room to a bedroom without needing planning consent, as nothing external to the dwelling would be changed by such a conversion.  The key then is whether or not Building Regulation approval was needed for the conversion on that date or not.  I rather suspect that as you purchased the flat with that room described as not being a bedroom, then the date of conversion to a bedroom would have to be after that date.  That may well means that it now needs to comply with building regs in order to be classified as a bedroom, or any other habitable room.

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... unless the previous owner would provide a Statement of Truth as to previous use as a bedroom.

 

Is much weight given to EA particulars?

 

Ferdinand

 

Edited by Ferdinand

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Planning permission wouldn't normally be needed to change a garden room to a bedroom. The only exceptions I can think of would be if it was going to become a new separate dwelling or or use as a bedroom was precluded by a planning condition (not sure such a condition would be lawful).

 

If it says garden room on the plans it's likely building control approval was granted on that basis, or possibly not required at all or not obtained. 

 

I see a similarity to a loft conversion. The regs that apply are those in force at the time the loft is converted to a habitable room. 

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On the previous thread I asked @timn1423 "What leverage do the other freeholders have to oblige this to be advertised as 1 bedroom in sales particulars?"

 

If you could answer it may help you with achieving your aims.

 

We sometimes have garden rooms etc indicated on plans. This has been due yo being in a flood risk area where a habitable room would not be acceptable. There may be other reasons.

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2 hours ago, Mr Punter said:

On the previous thread I asked @timn1423 "What leverage do the other freeholders have to oblige this to be advertised as 1 bedroom in sales particulars?"

 

If you could answer it may help you with achieving your aims.

 

We sometimes have garden rooms etc indicated on plans. This has been due yo being in a flood risk area where a habitable room would not be acceptable. There may be other reasons.

 

In terms of exact leverage, I'm not sure. But I know that the previous owner had originally marketed the flat as a 2 bedroom and then after some intervention from the freeholders, that fell through and the seller was forced to relist as a 1 bedroom and drop the price. But I'm really not sure if there was an exact legal basis for that or if it was just one of the overzealous freeholders overreaching and scaring off the potential buyer when in fact there's no real issue with the room.

 

There are no obvious issues with the room itself. It has large double glazed windows and an external door, there are no significant hazards although as stated, I'm not in a flood risk area. It probably wouldn't meet current regs related to insulation and I don't know enough about the building materials used to know how closely it'd meet other regs.

 

But if the planning granted was sufficient for the room to be used as a bedroom at the time and regs didn't apply at the time, then I can't see what basis they might have to object.

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1 hour ago, timn1423 said:

In terms of exact leverage, I'm not sure. But I know that the previous owner had originally marketed the flat as a 2 bedroom and then after some intervention from the freeholders, that fell through and the seller was forced to relist as a 1 bedroom and drop the price. But I'm really not sure if there was an exact legal basis for that or if it was just one of the overzealous freeholders overreaching and scaring off the potential buyer when in fact there's no real issue with the room.

 

If I were you I would find out exactly what this is about or it may come back to bite you. Did you get your information from the previous owner directly? Unless there were strong grounds, why would they change the description and lower the price? Is there a dispute with the freeholders as to whether the bedroom is legitimate? Is it the case that freeholder consent should have been granted but was not?

 

I think your issue is legal, not planning.

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2 hours ago, Mr Punter said:

I think your issue is legal, not planning.

 

@timn1423 I'd be checking the freehold agreement if I were you.

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4 hours ago, timn1423 said:

But if the planning granted was sufficient for the room to be used as a bedroom at the time and regs didn't apply at the time, then I can't see what basis they might have to object.

 

But planning was for a garden room, so the regs would have been assessed for it being a garden room. Just because it was then used as a bedroom, it does not mean that it would have passed the regs as a bedroom (if there as such a thing at the time, which is what I think you're now trying to find out). 

 

Are you now wanting to sell the flat as a 2 bedroom? If so, I'd first be checking the freehold agreement to see if the freeholder has a basis to block that. If not, you effectively have two choices: 1) Advertise it as a 2 bed and see what happens with the risk that if someone complains and you're forced to re-advertise as a 1 bedroom, you'll likely have to reduce the price or 2) Go to a lawyer and pay them to make an assessment on whether it can be sold as a 2 bedroom, and if not, at least you're in a position of knowledge of where to price it in the market.

 

I guess there's a 3) too. Post all the details here and risk taking free advice from randomers on the internet, even if they are some of the smartest ransomers out there 😀

Edited by AliMcLeod

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https://www.bromley.gov.uk/leaflet/122659/4/675/d

 

Quotes Trading Standards Institute Advice...

 



Extensions, loft conversions & outhouses

Extensions, loft conversions and outhouses have created problems where an estate agent has described a room as a bedroom, but it has not been subject to planning or building regulation approval and, thus, is not suitable to be used as such. If a vendor is unable to supply details, then the planning office should be approached for confirmation. If you are unable to establish that the room was correctly approved, then great care needs to be exercised; either describe the room as a boarded loft area (or other appropriate description), or state clearly that planning permission for the room has not been obtained.

 

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Thanks all! I think I'll start out by getting some estate agent valuations and asking for their opinion on the difference in valuation between it being a 1 bed with garden room vs a 2 bed. Based on that I'll talk to either a lawyer or the planning office.

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