Are you considering making changes to your home? … read on for what you need to contemplate to avoid difficulties at a later date.

An effective way to increase the value of your property could be to change the current layout internally or externally or add additional space.  You may be considering adding an extension, conservatory or converting the garage or attic to provide more living space or using space to work from home.

The legal title to the property may contain restrictive covenants/ lease restrictions and/or rights of way or other easements in favour of a third party. You will need to consider if you need to obtain consent from the beneficiary of the covenants or your Landlord (if you own a flat) to the proposed works and you also need to think about whether the proposed works will have any impact on any rights of way or other easements to which the property is subject (i.e. you cannot block a right of way on your property which is used by someone else who has an easement to do so). It is therefore recommended that before you spend money on dealing with planning/building regulations/architects (detailed below) you instruct a solicitor to check your title to ensure that you are able to do what you propose to do.

If you are considering enlarging your property, think about commissioning a survey to ensure you get accurate measurements and can consider planning and building regulations compliance.

Some of these changes may come under permitted development rules but this needs to be checked carefully with the local authority, these rights have strict restrictions which need to be considered carefully. Extra consideration needs to be give if the property is in a conservation area, area of outstanding natural beauty or a listed building.

Compliance with building regulations is of paramount importance, the regulations are there to ensure that the property is safe, mitigating its contribution to carbon emissions and being energy efficient. Building regulations can apply to fairly minor alterations so ensure that you get this checked out before you start works.

It may be a term of your mortgage that you need consent to make substantial alterations and you should check the mortgage offer letter and conditions you have to see if this is required.

Although often ignored in the past in respect of extensions and other relatively minor works, buyers and mortgagees are increasingly looking at having such work guaranteed by home warranty companies and we would strongly suggest you have a discussion with your contractor to ensure that the paperwork is in place so that when you come to sell or remortgage it is trouble-free.

You may need to consider party wall issues and in this respect we would suggest taking advice from a RICS surveyor.

Finally, if you are considering major works, check that your buildings insurance provides cover for building works in case a claim needs to be made.

For more advice in this respect please contact :

Claire Reynolds

Nicola Edgcombe

Kristy Giles

Jonathan Day

Roseanna McNally

Raymond Hayes