I have a roof deck with no planning permission. What happens if we want to sell?

Property Clinic: When I bought the property in 2006, the flat-roof of the extension was in use as a sun-deck

Should you wish to sell, a lender will generally be reluctant to provide a mortgage to a prospective buyer for a property with outstanding planning issues

Should you wish to sell, a lender will generally be reluctant to provide a mortgage to a prospective buyer for a property with outstanding planning issues

 

I live in a terraced single-storey period cottage in Dublin. When I bought it in 2006, the flat-roof of the extension was in use as a sun-deck and neighbours tell me that was the case since the mid-1980s. In 2010, I had the roof recovered and, as part of this project, decking was laid and opaque glass screening was fitted. I did not formally apply for planning permission but discussions with my immediate neighbours took place before the project and there were no objections raised. As eight years have now passed, am I “out of the woods” in respect of planning regulations and are there any implications if I decide to put the house on the market in future?

Your home sounds very attractive and the sun deck appears to have been a great use of limited space available at the property. However, under the Planning and Development Regulations, 2001, (S.I. No. 600/2001 ) Schedule 2 – Part 1 – Exempted Development – Development within the curtilage of a house, such development is specifically excluded from exemption. The particular condition (number 7) reads: “The roof of any extension shall not be used as a balcony or roof garden.”

Under Section 157 (4)(a) of the Planning & Development 2000 (as amended), which relates specifically to prosecution of planning offences by a local authority, “no warning letter or enforcement notice shall issue and no proceedings for an offence under this Part shall commence – (i) in respect of a development where no permission has been granted, after seven years from the date of the commencement of the development”.

Retention permission

Put simply this means that the local authority cannot progress any enforcement action at this stage for the non-compliance with planning requirements. However, this does not mean that you now have a default permission.

It is certain that the local authority would ask you to rectify the position formally if you submit any future planning application for development at your home. In addition, where a future purchaser might seek to acquire your home, the building surveyor examining the property as part of the sale process will recommend that the matter is formally rectified through retention permission (or removed) to satisfy planning requirements.

Furthermore, a lender will generally be reluctant to provide a mortgage for a home with outstanding planning issues.

I would strongly recommend that you now engage the services of a suitably qualified professional (eg building surveyor, architect, etc) for advice on this matter. I advise that your agent might seek a “pre-planning” meeting with the local authority to determine any particular requirements for a future planning application for retention of the development. In this regard, the fact that your immediate neighbours do not have any particular concerns will be helpful.

Andrew O’Gorman is a chartered building surveyor and member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland

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