A kick start for builders and property owners

Year Published: 2014

Recent changes to planning legislation have made it easier for individuals to develop their properties. In addition there has been an attempt by the government to kick start the building industry with several initiatives including government backed mortgages in the ‘Help to Buy Scheme’.

What are the changes and how could they affect property owners?

Extensions and conversions

It’s now easier to reach the building process for an extension, as certain extensions no longer require planning permission and will be considered as ‘permitted development.’ Examples of these include:

  • A single story extension of a height no more than four meters;
  • Two-story extensions no closer than seven metres to the rear boundary;
  • Extensions no higher than the highest part of the roof.

There are strict limits relating to the size and type of extensions and special conditions relating to properties on ‘designated land’ such as conservation areas and world heritage sites, so specialist advice is recommended for an extension on designated land.

For owners of agricultural buildings it is now easier to convert those buildings to commercial use such as; a farm shop, café or offices. Changes in planning legislation mean that owners can cut down on the paperwork required to obtain permission for a change of use or avoid making a planning application all together. Again there are various conditions which must be taken into account and legal advice should be obtained at an early stage.

Government backed mortgages – The ‘Help to Buy’ scheme

The government has launched two products to try and fuel the housing industry and in particular house building. There are two options available: The Equity Loan scheme and Mortgage Guarantee scheme.

The equity loan scheme has made it possible to borrow up to 20% of the cost of a new build from the government. You only need a 5% deposit and a 75% mortgage to make up the rest. The scheme is available in England for affiliated new builds with a value up to £600,000. Both first-time buyers and existing homeowners are eligible. You must occupy the property and it must be your only property.

The Mortgage Guarantee scheme makes it possible to purchase a pre-owned or new build property under £600,000 with a 5% deposit. It’s available for pre-owned properties and new builds across the UK. Both existing homeowners and first-time buyers are eligible. You must occupy the property and it must be your only property.

The effect of the changes and the success of the schemes will become apparent in time but for those individuals wanting advice on any of the issues raised above, we have the expertise to help.

Find more information here.

For further information on planning and development for investors or the ‘Help to Buy’ scheme for homeowners, please contact James Goddard in our Real Estate team on 0844 3915820.

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