Lawful Development Certificates (LDC)
If you need a formal decision from your council, to show that your existing use or development is lawful, then you can submit an application for Certificate of Lawfulness which is known as 4 Year Rule Planning.
What is a Certificate of Lawfulness?
A Lawful Development Certificate is a legal document rather than a planning permission.
If you want to be certain that the existing use of a building is lawful for planning purposes, or that your proposal does not require planning permission, you can apply for a ‘Lawful Development Certificate’ (LDC).
We regularly make Certificate of Lawfulness applications on behalf of our clients as a means to regularise their unauthorised development and in advance of enforcement proceedings by the council.
For example, if you have split your house into flats and rented the flats out continuously for a period in excess of 4 years, you can get a Lawful Development Certificate using the 4 year rule to regularise your development.
Why should I apply for a Lawful Development Certificate?
Certificate of Lawfulness allows you to make a formal application for a certificate to determine whether your unauthorised use or development can become lawful through the passage of time, and can be continued without the need for planning permission.
Fact: If you are selling your property, the buyer’s solicitor will request you to provide this certificate. Or if you are applying for re-mortgage, your mortgage lender may request to see this certificate.
Do I qualify for Certificate of Lawfulness?
You can apply for Certificate of Lawfulness if you can demonstrate that:
- There has been a continuous use of land or buildings (other than a dwelling) for more than 4 years.
- A condition or limitation on a planning permission has not been complied with for more than 4 years.
- Building or other operations have been completed for more than 4 years.
- A building (not land) has been used as a dwelling house (house or flat) for more than 4 years.
Four Year Rule: The only exception is where the use of a building is as a dwelling house. It is the Use Class C3 and includes houses and flats. In this case, you can apply for Certificate of Lawfulness after 4 years of continuous use.
How can I make a Certificate of Lawfulness Application?
In order to establish the use, your architects or planners need to provide your council with sufficient factual information for them to consider your application. Your agents should prove the continued uninterrupted use of your dwelling as separate self-contained flats for 4 years.
Your architects or planners need to provide sufficient factual information to demonstrate that the use in question has continued at the same level of intensity, and for the same purpose, for the period of these 4 consecutive years. All you have to do is to appoint an architect or planner who has a proven track record in 4 year rule.
By now you’ll have realised that you will need to prove that there is a clear history of the function of the property being used in excess of 4 years. If you want to establish the lawfulness of your property and obtain immunity from enforcement action, it is important that you seek professional advice when applying for Certificate of Lawfulness.
Don’t risk your application being turned down which can then result in enforcement action!
To date, we have prepared, submitted and managed hundreds of planning permission applications, and have successfully maintained a record of achieving 100% success rate with Certificate of Lawfulness applications!
AJ Plans provide expert planning advice and assistance benefiting from a vast amount of experience in this field and have an excellent track record of success.