Question: I am buying a Grade II-listed flat. The sellers changed the layout eight years ago and so it is different to the lease plan.
© Merrily Harpur (harpur.org)
There is a Building Regulation Completion Certificate, but my solicitor says there should also have been Listed Building Consent and landlord’s consent. The sellers’ solicitor claims it is not an issue. What do you think?
Answer: When a building is listed the whole building or structure is included in the listing, even modern parts. Listed Building Consent (LBC) is needed for any works which involve demolition, alteration, extension or stone cleaning which affects the character of the building as a building of special architectural or historic interest.
The internal works appear to be significant and so it is likely that LBC should have been obtained. It would be usual for the terms of your lease to require the consent of the landlord for any alterations and if that has not been granted then there may be a breach of covenant.
These issues can be resolved but will require the co-operation of your sellers’ solicitor. If such co-operation is not forthcoming you may have to walk away from the purchase, because if you buy a property with unauthorised works you become liable for any listed building enforcement action in connection with the unauthorised works —although only the person who carried out the works will on conviction be guilty of a criminal offence.
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