Legal advice needed to ‘self-build’ a home
An essential part of self-building a home is the legal advice necessary to ensure that the project is a success, both in terms of running on time and within budget.
Legal advice includes:
Planning applications, which are especially important where building restrictions are in force and/or unusual designs or materials are involved
Ensuring that there are proper rights of access and sight lines
Ensuring that there are rights to administer new services to the property
Ensuring that there are no ‘restrictive covenants’ (limiting clauses in the property deeds) that affect construction and future use
‘Overage payments’ (money additional to the sale price, which a land vendor may be entitled to if the land increases in value in the future)
Advice on options, conditional contracts and joint ventures.
Failure to obtain planning permission means a person has no legal right to start construction, therefore a local authority has the right to order the demolition of any work done at the potential home owner’s cost.
It is therefore advisable to check planning permission thoroughly and not purchase a plot of land before planning permission has been granted.
Planning permission comes in two forms, both of which are required – outline planning permission and full or detailed planning permission.
Outline planning permission
Outline planning permission operates by granting approval of an outline plan. This means the plot of land has permission for a certain type of development to be built on it; however, specific construction plans have not been agreed.
This form of planning permission has a three-year shelf-life, after which re-application is required.
If the plot of land only has outline planning permission, full planning permission is needed before construction can begin.
Full or detailed planning permission
Full or detailed planning permission is where a construction proposal has been agreed in detail for a specific build, such as a four-bedroom house.
If the plans do not correspond with the planning permission, further construction plans may need to be approved.
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