Purchasing a property either for yourself or for the rental market is tricky enough – but listed buildings come with a whole host of considerations and legalities to consider.
Listed buildings defined
For a building to be listed, it must be classed as being of ‘special architectural or historic interest’ by the National Heritage list. When a structure meets this criteria, it is deemed listed and falls subject to rules and regulations regarding renovation, repairs and other work.
What criteria makes a building listed?
Any that were made before 1700 and are still in a manner resembling their original state are automatically included – as are many built between 1700 and 1840. However, particular attention is paid to buildings created after 1945 and few of these are listed.
In all, a building MUST be at least 30 years old to be classed as listed. Once it has been added to the National Heritage list, the building comes under special protections. There are different ‘grades’ of listed buildings which pertain to their architectural and historic interest – with Grade I the most important, followed by Grade II and II.
A listed building is protected against demolition and development that can harm its character. Unfortunately, what this actually constitutes is a tricky affair – so owners of listed buildings must seek permission from their local conservation officer before any changes are made. You can’t alter the look of the property without consent.
Caring for a listed building
As a result of the age of listed buildings, maintenance needs to be at the forefront of your development. Most maintenance jobs don’t need planning permission as long as they don’t involve altering the building itself – so placing flood defences such as door guards during rainy periods is fine. However, due to the age of the property you’ll have to defend against damp and decay – which can involve having maintenance work done to the property.
If this sounds in any way intimidating, you can’t be put off and avoid the work – as the local authority has the power to issue an urgent works notice. If ignored, they can enter the property and carry out the work itself then bill you for the task.
Hiring a surveyor to spot problems such as rising damp is also key – but you’ll need to be careful on the manner of repair, as modern measures such as filling walls with cement can prevent the building from breathing. In situations like this, the local authority’s conservation and planning officer will be able to advise you on the best course of action.
Energy considerations in a listed building
You’ll also need to keep on top of the energy demands of a listed building. Due to their age, they may not be as energy efficient as other homes or dwellings. Small measures such as the installation of a modern boiler can make a large difference – but other measures can cause issues. For example, installing loft insulation or double glazing will require planning permission. Thankfully, some companies offer glass options for listed buildings that retain the original window’s aesthetic look but place a second pane behind it to increase insulation. This is far more likely to be approved compared to standard double glazing.
As a direct result of all these considerations, buying listed building insurance from specialists such as Lycetts is vital for helping protect you against issues that may arise when purchasing and owning a listed property.