Questions and Answers
Thinking of buying a listed building? These are the top eight questions that we get asked – and some crucial answers to allow you to get to grips with the issues before you purchase your dream home.
1. What is a listed building?
In simple terms “listing” means that the building is on a national register as a property of architectural or historic importance or interest. This means that its style and substance give it exceptional character. It also means the owner has a duty to keep it in good repair and to maintain the buildings character. Members of The Listed Property Owners Club receive a complete listed building guide when they join which is updated regularly with useful information sheets and briefings. Chapters 1.01 and 1.02 will give you the complete picture as to how listed buildings are defined.
2. Which bits of the building are included in the listing?
Contrary to popular belief, listing means all the building, both inside and out, plus the area around the building is protected and this applies to all grades including Grade II.
3. Will I be able to alter or extend the building?
Don’t buy if this is a prime consideration. You may well be able to alter some of the buildings layout, update a kitchen or bathroom or even add an extension, but don’t assume so. The local council employs a “Conservation Officer” who will grant (or withhold) permission to make changes. This officer will become a very important person in the new owner’s life.
4. Before I buy what must I look out for?
Unauthorised work by the previous owners can be a problem. Before you purchase the property, you must ensure that all work in the past had planning permission. The current owner, not the previous owner who carried out the work, is liable to correct any alterations or additions that do not meet with the conservation officer’s conditions and standards. As the new owner you will inherit these problems. And there is no time limit on the enforcement of such repairs.
The Listed Property Owners’ Club is able to offer protection against undiscovered unauthorised work via our specialised home insurance. We’ve developed this coverage in direct response to many of our members’ needs; it’s unique in the UK and it saves our members’ thousands annually.
5. What grants are available for Listed Buildings?
Sadly grants are few and far between but what is available comes from your conservation officer.
Until recently the Government provided financial help via Vat relief on certain types of work. Sadly this was withdrawn in the last budget, although under certain circumstances this saving may be available until October 2015.
The Listed Property Owners Club with happily explain this to you.
6. Do I need a special survey?
We would strongly recommend that you use a surveyor that has experience of and is familiar with period properties.
We provide you with a list of recommended surveyors in our detailed Suppliers Directory which you receive as part of your new members’ joining pack.
7. Can you help me find the right mortgage for a listed property?
Yes, give us a call and we will talk you through the options. We can also put you in touch with the specialist provider that we have worked with extensively over the years.
8. Do I need special insurance cover?
If disaster strikes and your conservation officer insists you reinstate with similar materials to match the rest of your building would your present household insurer be willing to cover the full costs? If not, can you imagine the consequences.
ENSURING YOU’RE COVERED
The insurers used by The Listed Property Owners’ Club will advise on the correct sum to insure your home. If the worst should happen, subject to having had a survey carried out, they’ll pay the cost to rebuild your home exactly as it was before.
For more information on our insurance click here. Speak to the Insurance Team by calling 01795 844939 or email email@example.com.