Planning permission: When you need it, and how to add value without it

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If you have a residential property to sell or rent out, you’re probably wondering how you can increase its value.

You might also be asking, “do I need planning permission?”

You’ve spent many happy years in your home, but the time has come for you to move on to pastures new.

Or perhaps you’re an investor who has purchased a property in need of some upgrading before selling it, or increasing its rental yield.

Whatever your circumstances, you want to get as much bang for your buck as possible.

Value can be added in a variety of ways, but will you need planning permission for the work you want to carry out?

Here are our tips for adding value to your property, and where you’ll need to apply for planning permission.

What is planning permission?

Planning permission means asking your local authority (council) whether you can carry out certain types of building work. 

In Reading, you’ll need to contact the planning department at Reading Borough Council.

If you’re not sure which planning authority your property falls under, contact our team and we can point you in the right direction.

When you’ve applied, the planning department will decide whether to grant or refuse permission.

You must wait until permission is granted before carrying out the work.

If your plans are rejected but you carry them out anyway, the local authority could issue an enforcement notice and make you put things back to the way they were before.

So make sure you wait for permission if you want to do work that requires it!

When will I need planning permission to add value to my property?

  • Change of use. If the building you’re looking to add value to wasn’t previously a home, you’ll need to apply for a change of use from your local planning department. For example, if you have bought a residential care home and want to convert it back into a house, you’ll need permission.
  • Demolition. If you want to carry out any demolition work, you’ll likely need planning permission – especially if the building has been deemed as unsafe.
  • Garage conversions. If you have a garage big enough to be converted into a separate accommodation, this will add a lot of value to a property. Planning permission is needed to do this.

How can I add value to my property without planning permission?

There are ways to add value to your property without the need for planning permission.

Many types of building work can be done through permitted development rights, which are set out by the government, instead of a local authority.

Here are some of the improvements you can make without permission:

  • Outbuildings. Outbuildings, which can include greenhouses, sheds and garages. Adding a garage would be a valuable addition to a property which doesn’t offer off-road parking.

Ancillary garden buildings such as a swimming pool is also deemed an outbuilding – who knows, the Reading weather might hold up long enough to host a pool party one day!

  • Extensions. You can extend your property without permission, as long as it’s within the permitted development rights.

However, you’ll need planning permission if the extension covers more than half the land around the original property, or if the front or side extension faces onto a road.

If you plan to use different materials on your extension, you’ll also need permission.

Height limitations also apply.

Extensions can add value in the form of extra bedrooms and bathrooms if another story is added, or by creating more of an open-plan ground floor.

Fancy adding a conservatory to the back of your property? The good news is they fall under the same category as extensions when it comes to permitted development rights.

Although many don’t require planning permission, building regulations approval is still needed for extensions.

Call our team today for guidance on obtaining building regulation permission.

  • Loft conversions. An excellent way to achieve a higher asking price or rental yield is to add another bedroom by converting a loft.

Without permission, additional roof space can’t be more than 40 cubic meters for terraced houses or 50 cubic meters for semi-detached and detached houses.

 There are some cases where planning permission may be required, but our Sophic Property experts can advise you whether your loft conversion plans are likely to need it.

  • Removing load-bearing walls. Removing walls can create more space and flow in a property, adding value for buyers who are looking for open plan living.

Load-bearing walls support other parts of the building, including chimney stacks, upstairs walls, and the roof. As a general rule, you won’t need permission to remove these.

But it is a good idea to get advice from an architect before you remove load-bearing walls yourself.

I’ve decided to make some changes to my property. What next?

Knowing whether your building work needs planning permission can be confusing.

Hiring quality tradesmen is also essential for your project to run smoothly.

It can be difficult to know where to find reliable building contractors in Reading, but our Sophic Property experts can help.

With over 100 5* Google reviews, we will answer your planning permission, permitted development rights, and building regulations questions.

We’ll also help you find the right Reading tradesmen for your project.

Call our office today on 0118 324 6850 and we’ll work together to get your dream built off the ground.

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