Lawful use of Property
My property does not have planning permission how do I ensure it is lawful?
There are two key measures through the planning system that allow a property owner to regulate the use that a property is operating as (if there is no formal planning permission on file). Or if they want to change the use of a property and believe it is permitted development but want the ‘comfort’ of written confirmation from the council before doing so. These are commonly referred to a Certificate of Lawfulness.
The individual routes used are called:
⦁ Certificate of Lawfulness of Existing Use or Development (CLEUD); and ⦁ Certificate of Lawfulness of Proposed use or Development (CLOPUD).
Certificate of Lawfulness of Existing Use or Development CLEUD
A CLUED is effectively a retrospective version of the method, it is used where the change of use or development has already occurred. The Use part applies to the change of use of land for example if a residential homes (C3) had changed use to a 5 bedroom House of Multiple occupation (C4), the applicant can apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness to certify that the change of use is lawful. There are different criteria to apply to residential or commercial uses and so in order for a positive certificate to be issued it must be demonstrated to the Local Planning Authority that on balance of probabilities the change of use has existed for at least 4 (residential) or 10 (commercial) years. The number of years in use must have existed without interruption in order for the Certificate to be granted, for example if the building has been abandoned during this time, this could cause as issue. It is recommended that you course affidavits from previous occupiers, or suppliers to confirm the use during this time.
This can be important of you are buying a property, it is recommended that if you need to seek a CLEUD as part of the sale agreement the vendor assists with providing these affidavits.
Certificate of Lawfulness of Proposed use or Development CLOPUD
A CLOPUD can only be used before the proposed development has started, it enables the applicant to apply to the Local Planning Authority for confirmation that the proposed use of land or the proposed development (generally building operations), will be lawful. These Certificates are generally used to confirm that permitted development rights apply in the way envisaged by the owner and confirm that the Local planning Authority are in agreement. For example, if a home owner is considering extensions to a house that they believe are authorised by permitted development, they can seek a positive certificate from the Local Planning Authority before making the significant time and financial investments in the building work.
Certain parts of the Order including in relation to commercial changes of use or agricultural redevelopment are subject to a provision called prior approval which requires prior notification from the Local Planning Authority to assess certain technical matters in relation to highways, contamination and flood risk (to name but a few). Prior approval is a separate process and will be subject to a separate Planning Insight by Bramhall Town Planning.