We’ve a list of worries over listed house
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.