If you are thinking of buying a listed building, there are some important questions to ask before proceeding.
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.
What is listed?
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 owners life.
Before I buy what must I look out for?
Unauthorised work by the previous owners can be a problem. If you purchase the property you must ensure that all work undertaken by the previous owners had permission. The current owner, not the person that 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 club is able to offer some level of protection against unauthorised work via our specialised home insurance.
What grants are available for Listed Buildings?
Sadly grants are few and far between but what is available comes from your conservation officer. The government provides financial help for owners via VAT relief on certain types of work and under certain conditions.
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. A list of these is included in our Listed Property Directory.
It is important to understand that period houses were constructed using a “lime mortar”, not cement and what, to the inexperienced, appears as damp, is in fact, the natural manner in which a period house breathes. The installation of an injected damp proof course is often unnecessary and impractical.
Can you help me sell my listed building?
Of course. Simply let us have the sales details and we shall add it to those already on our website. We do not charge for this service. The issue about unauthorised work is important and you should ensure that all work that has been undertaken on you home has the appropriate documentation. We would also suggest that you use a conveyancing solicitor experienced in the sale of such buildings.
The Listed Property Owners Club was established in 1993 by a group of enthusiastic owners to provide advice and information gained from personal experience. It is now Britain's only advice service dedicated to keeping listed building owners informed of their obligations, rights, privileges and responsibilities. We also provide practical information on property maintenance, guidance on grants, loans, VAT, insurance etc.