Maximising the available space in your existing home can seem an attractive option when compared to the hassle and inconvenience of moving. Before making a start on your plans, it's worth considering what permissions or consents are needed.

Check your title deeds

As a starting point, check your title deeds to see whether they contain any specific title restrictions. It's not uncommon, particularly in new build developments, for developers to impose restrictions on each owner's ability to alter their properties. Those restrictions are usually put in place to maintain the amenity of the development for the benefit of all residents.

These types of restrictions can often include a specific prohibition on garage conversions (and other renovations) being carried out without the consent of the development's factor or neighbours. If your titles do contain these types of conditions, speak with a solicitor who can confirm whether those restrictions are enforceable; what impact those might have on your plans; and what additional steps you might need to take before commencing work.

Planning permission and building warrants

Separately, consider whether planning permission might be required, depending on the nature and size of the project and the proposed use of the additional space. Check whether a building warrant may be needed, which is likely if your conversion involves any structural works being carried out to your property. If your property is listed or sits within a conservation area, additional restrictions may apply.

If you're unsure whether your conversion does require planning or building consent, contact your local planning and building control departments to discuss proposals, to ensure that all of the necessary legal requirements are met.

Failure to follow these steps could cause lengthy and potentially costly disputes with your neighbours and could lead the planning authority to take enforcement action; both of which are best avoided. Checking what consents may be required before starting your conversion is always the best course of action.

Contributor

Jordon Reid

Associate