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Dec, 2014

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  1. #1

    Default Landlord Residing in annexe

    Hi
    I am a landlord and live in my converted barn with my wife and son, in the grounds of my main house. This house is let on an assured short hold tenancy.
    I have an informal agreement with the tenant that I could live in the annexe (barn)

    There is a shared drive, parking and one set of water and electricity bills which we share by agreement, (I have private meters for my usage).

    The local planning department is seeking an enforcement order to prevent me inhabiting the barn, as they say I am using it as a separate unit of habitation. They had, however, previously written to me advising that I would not need planning permission to use the barn as an anexe as long as I made no material changes to it, as it's an existing curtilage building.

    They then instructed the Valuation office to value the barn for rating purposes, which they did and for the last 6 months I have been paying separate council tax.

    I am aware that the council can apply double standards by rating a property as if it was a separate unit of habitation, and then enforcing the prevention of its use as a separate unit.

    It is quite common for annexes to be let, but not so the main house with the annexe retained. In Uttlesford v SSE and White [1992] JPI 171 it was held that there was no reason why in law a building that has separate facilities expected in a self contained unit should become a separate planning unit from the main dwelling.

    Is the planning department wrong in trying to try to evict me, and what exactly is my legal right to residency? Am I a resident landlord? I rather think I am the guest of the tenant, who has rented the whole property.
    I shortly need to reply to a planning contravention notice, I am claiming this is an ancillary use. Any advice appreciated.

    Many thanks
    Andrew

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Isle of Wight
    Posts
    282

    Default

    I don't have a great knowledge of this but I did employ a planning consultant when investigating the use of my barn as a holiday let so explored some of these issues.

    I don't think you are reading Uttlesford v SSE fully. The key was that the use must remain ancillary to the main dwelling, as you say that doesn't mean that you have to share facilities but it does mean anyone residing in it must be connected - i.e. family, employee, etc. You would have to show that your family is sufficiently connected to the family in the main dwelling. On the facts you have given that looks unlikely.

    I don't suppose you have been in residence 4 yrs or more? Paying council tax is good evidence for that - although looks like not long enough from your post.

    Your tenancy relationship with the AST holder is mostly irrelevant to the planning debt so I wouldn't worry about it - unless proving 4 yrs use.

    I would probably try getting a planning consultant and try a retrospective application for a separate dwelling - they may take pity on you rather than turf your family out on the street and consultants tend to be ex-planners with a knack for bending the ear of the right person.
    caveat emptor
    If it sounds like I know what I am talking about........I don't.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    9,813

    Default

    Do we take it the main house & barn are separate, not-joined, buildings?
    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    373

    Default

    You're paying rates (council tax) for the barn so why not apply for planning permission for the separate unit, or did they turn it down before?

    Perhaps you could claim to be the resident caretaker for the main house?

  5. #5

    Default

    Wight Knight: 8 years ago I tried to get planning permission for an annexe, and it was turned down, and again on appeal. The main objection was the alterations to the barn were too grand. I put in a smaller scheme but the appeal inspector dismissed them on a technicality (they were submitted too late) I think it unlikely I would get permission for a separate dwelling as the building is to the rear of a neighbors garden, and would detract from the value of the main house if it were sold separately. In any case, I dont need a permission for a new unit, just an annexe.

    I have been occupying the Barn on and off for 5 years. I always used Grove Farmhouse as my correspondence address, while we were overseas, or staying in my other properties which were between tenants. The accommodation consists of a first floor 2 bedroomed flat, and I have made no changes to the outside of the building.

    Theartfullodger: yes it is a separate building.


    I received no complaints from neighbors in that time.
    A planning officer visited and told me, and confirmed in writing, :So long as the building (barn) is within the curtilage of the dwelling house, which in this instance it is, it may be put to an ancillary residential use without the need for planning permission."

    I do carry out all maintenance to the Main house and gardens, Including hedgecutting, although, of course this is not a full time job.

    So I guess my question is "is a landlords residence in an annexe he owns an ancillary use to the (let) main dwelling?"

    Regards
    Andrew

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Isle of Wight
    Posts
    282

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by daglocks View Post
    So I guess my question is "is a landlords residence in an annexe he owns an ancillary use to the (let) main dwelling?"
    Not according to any material or case law I can find, but a professional in this area may know different.

    It seems to me your best bet would be seek planning permission for use as a separate dwelling based on greater than 4 years conspicuous and continuous use. You don't then have to separate the title unless you chose at some point to sell them separately.

    Good luck! Keep us up to date with how you get on.
    caveat emptor
    If it sounds like I know what I am talking about........I don't.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Hampshire
    Posts
    1,047

    Default

    They had, however, previously written to me advising that I would not need planning permission to use the barn as an annexe as long as I made no material changes to it, as it's an existing curtilage building.
    That isn't what you are doing is it? You are creating an additional residential unit which isn't the same as using an outbuilding as a habitable room related to an existing dwelling.
    RICHARD WEBSTER

    As a conveyancing solicitor I believe the information given in the post to be useful (provided it relates to property in England & Wales) but I accept no liability except to fee-paying clients.

  8. #8

    Default

    Richard, does "ownership" create a relationship between two habitable units within the same planning unit?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    Isle of Wight
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    282

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Hampshire
    Posts
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    Default

    Richard, does "ownership" create a relationship between two habitable units within the same planning unit?
    The concept of "planning unit" is largely judge made as I understand it but my understanding is that it is a unit of occupation - so the mere fact that the barn and the house are occupied separately creates two separate planning units. In this contexct ownership is not relevant - otherwise this would like saying that someone who owns a house and divides it into two flats and lets them separately doesn't need planning permission because he still owns it!
    RICHARD WEBSTER

    As a conveyancing solicitor I believe the information given in the post to be useful (provided it relates to property in England & Wales) but I accept no liability except to fee-paying clients.

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