We’ve a list of wor­ries over listed house

Evening Standard - West End Final Extra - ES Homes and Property - - Ask The Expert - Fiona McNulty

WE HAVE looked at a mews house that is lovely but needs a lot of work. We want to buy it but we are wor­ried be­cause we have been told it is Grade II listed. If it is, what im­pact will the list­ing have on us and our plans for the house? Is there any­thing we need to be es­pe­cially cau­tious about?

ABUILDINGS are usu­ally listed if they are of spe­cial ar­chi­tec­tural or his­tor­i­cal in­ter­est. Grade II build­ings are the most com­mon type of listed build­ing. There is also Grade I and Grade II*.

You can check the list­ing sta­tus of a build­ing on­line on the Na­tional Her­itage List for Eng­land. This would be a good start­ing place to see what type of list­ing ap­plies to the house.

If you in­tend to carry out any work in­volv­ing al­ter­ation or ex­ten­sion, you will need to ob­tain listed build­ing con­sent as well as any nec­es­sary build­ing reg­u­la­tions and plan­ning con­sents. Have a build­ing sur­vey car­ried out by a spe­cial­ist in his­toric/ listed build­ings. Also, ask your sur­veyor if, in their view, works have been car­ried out in the past to the prop­erty. If listed build­ing con­sent was not granted for any such works, you may be­come li­able for any listed build­ing en­force­ment ac­tion re­lat­ing to them — al­though only the per­son who car­ried out the works or caused them to be car­ried out could be found guilty of a crim­i­nal of­fence. You should in­form your sur­veyor about the work you would like to do to the house and seek their opin­ion as to whether listed build­ing con­sent is likely to be granted for it.

With a listed build­ing es­pe­cially, make sure you un­der­stand the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties you are tak­ing on be­fore you make a com­mit­ment to buy the place. We re­gret that ques­tions can­not be an­swered in­di­vid­u­ally, but we will try to fea­ture them here. Fiona McNulty is a solic­i­tor spe­cial­is­ing in res­i­den­tial prop­erty. WE ARE go­ing to be work­ing abroad for 18 months. In­stead of do­ing a long let of our flat for the whole time we are away we would like to do hol­i­day lets, as we think that may be much more lu­cra­tive. Not hav­ing done this be­fore, where should we start?

EN­SURE the lease of your flat does not pro­hibit hol­i­day let­ting. It is very com­mon for the lease of a res­i­den­tial flat to con­tain re­stric­tive covenants that reg­u­late the way in which the flat may be used. Some leases state that the prop­erty can only be used as a pri­vate dwelling and pro­hibit busi­ness use. Us­ing your flat for hol­i­day lets may breach such covenants be­cause mul­ti­ple short lets for profit are of­ten con­sid­ered to amount to a busi­ness.

How­ever, if your lease does al­low hol­i­day lets, you may wish to con­sider em­ploy­ing a let­ting agent who spe­cialises in them to find cus­tomers for you; to pre­pare your hol­i­day let­ting agree­ments — al­though you may wish your solic­i­tor to be in­volved in the prepa­ra­tion of these — and also man­age the change-overs, if you do not have time to do that your­self.

A good agent could also ad­vise about set­ting up your flat for hol­i­day let­ting, in­clud­ing tips on the kitchen equip­ment you should pro­vide, the rent to charge and so on. You may need your lender’s con­sent if you have a mort­gage. You may also need a sep­a­rate con­tents in­sur­ance pol­icy to cover hol­i­day let­ting.

If your lease pro­hibits hol­i­day let­ting you could con­tact your land­lord to see whether there is any chance of the terms be­ing var­ied in or­der to per­mit it.

WHAT’S YOUR PROB­LEM? IF YOU have a ques­tion for Fiona McNulty, please email legal­so­lu­tions@ stan­dard.co.uk or write to Le­gal So­lu­tions, Homes & Prop­erty, Lon­don Evening Stan­dard, 2 Derry Street, W8 5EE.

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