Listed buildings: the rules of renovation

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Fans of the late, lamented Property Ladder, presented by Sarah Beeny, will know that renovating a listed building can turn into a long and expensive nightmare.

If you’re considering buying a house or flat that’s listed, you need to know what you’re letting yourself in for, particularly if you’re thinking about updating it.

Making changes won’t necessarily be a nightmare, but it can be a longer, more complicated and expensive process and you may not be able to do what you want.

The older a building is, the more chance there is that it’s listed.

Generally, listing applies to all buildings built before 1700 and to most built between 1700 and 1840. The vast majority of listed buildings are Grade II listed, but more important ones are Grade II* and the most important are Grade I.

It’s sometimes thought that the listing applies to just parts of the building, but it includes the whole exterior and interior, and sometimes attached structures as well.

Some buildings are classified as being ‘locally listed’. This means that they’re considered by the council

to be of local historical or architectural interest, but aren’t important enough to be nationally listed and so don’t have statutory protection.

Listed building consent is obtained from your local council and is a similar process to applying for planning permission, although in some cases you’ll need planning as well.