Q I have noticed a few pre-63 buildings for sale on the northside of Dublin city and they seem to me to be reasonably good value at the moment.
I am considering putting in an offer on one with the idea of turning it back into a family home. Generally speaking, can they be converted back into family homes relatively easily or would there be significant planning permission issues?
AThe use of the building as of October 1st, 1964 will be the permitted use. The change of use from any commercial use (eg office) to use as a single dwelling will require planning permission.
However, where the building is in multi-residential use, for example as flats, it may be that it can revert to use as a single dwelling house where the previous use was as a single dwelling house.
This is set out in Class 14 of Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Planning and Development Regulations 2001, which provides that the change of use from use as two or more dwellings to use as a single dwelling of any structure previously used as a single dwelling is exempted development. The availability of this exemption is subject to a number of conditions and restrictions, for example it does not apply in the case of a protected structure.
It is recommended that a planning consultant be retained prior to purchase to advise upon these issues, and whether there are any exemptions available in relation to the change of use to a single dwelling house.
It may be appropriate to make an application for a Section 5 Declaration seeking the opinion of the planning authority as to whether the proposal is or is not development or is or is not exempted development.
In the event that there is no exemption available, a planning application will need to be made and the principle acceptability of the proposal to use the building as a single dwelling will depend upon a range of factors such as the zoning and the nature of the adjoining and surrounding uses.
John Spain is a member of the planning and development group of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland. scsi.ie
Q We are first-time buyers and put a deposit on a house a couple of weeks ago. We have been advised by our solicitor that we should receive contracts in about three weeks time. He also mentioned that sometimes the exchange of contracts can drag on a bit. We are getting a little worried as the end of the year approaches that we may miss the deadline to avail of the mortgage interest relief, particularly as we get closer to Christmas. Is there anything we can do to speed the process up?