Because of these technical considerations, even with an architect by your side, you want to make sure your home is 100% compliant before you start construction. Obtaining a lawful development certificate means you can have official documentation from your local authority that your build meets legal requirements.
The risks of not getting a lawful development certificate
If you decide to use your permitted development rights, but start construction without a lawful development certificate, you put your home at risk and will likely need to obtain one anyway.
Many future buyers will be wary of purchasing an extended property if there’s no proof the build was legal. This is because, if your extension gets found to be a faction too big, your loft design a little outside the guidelines, you can face not only some hefty fines, but can even be made to demolish the work. Naturally, these penalties won’t be something another homeowner will want to risk.
Lawful development certificates can be obtained in retrospect. However, you’ll need to pay twice the application fee. And as we said, if getting a certificate post- construction, and your build falls outside of your permitted development rights, you might face some pretty scary consequences.
What’s more, planning policies change. What might be included in permitted development today, might not be in 15 years. This is why you need proof that, at the time, what you did was considered legal.
To give yourself and future buyers peace of mind, it's well worth putting the time and money into getting a lawful development certificate.
How do you apply?
Applying for a lawful development certificate is a lot like applying for planning permission - only with less rejection stress.
- An application form
- Evidence verifying the information within the application.
- This would include architectural plans and elevations
- A site location plan
- A fee
It also doesn’t hurt to have an architect by your side to help with the application process.
Lawful development applications come with the following fees…
- £103 in England
- £85 in Wales
- £101 in Scotland
Fees are typically half the cost of full planning permission. However, if you've already gone through construction and are obtaining a certificate retrospectively, you'll need to pay double the fees listed above.
How long does it take to obtain?
Once your application has been submitted, you can expect to wait up to 8 weeks for a decision. If by this time limit a decision hasn’t been reached, you can make an appeal.