Rental Guide to Securing your Home

Having a place to call your own is something everyone dreams about, whether that be purchasing or renting. But when it comes to actually taking those steps it can be quite daunting and unfamiliar. With a huge variety of properties and agents to choose from, knowing the process can certainly help put your mind at ease. This is the 20 steps to securing your rental home …

Your Budget – Being able to understand what you can afford each month on rent alone is the perfect starting block, as going forward you would have to ensure you can keep up with your monthly rental repayments.


Location Location Location – Somewhere quiet? The City Centre? Near to family or work? Each location offers unique benefits and varies in price, so finding which area suits your needs should be of high importance.

Bedrooms – What is the minimum & maximum amount of bedrooms you are looking for? 

Minimalistic classic bedroom, white interior design

Size – Do you have a minimum size you are looking for?

Furnished or unfurnished? – If you have your own furniture you would need to ensure that any property you find can come unfurnished and vice versa.

When do you want to move? – understanding when you are able to start a contract is important as you don’t want to be looking too early in advance. We advise to start searching for your new home 6-8 weeks prior to your ideal contract start date.

Time to start looking – Rightmove, OnTheMarket & Zoopla. These are the three main property search portals where you can find suitable properties matching your criteria. 

Colored doors in an alley of London

Make a shortlist – There will be a lot of properties to choose from, therefore we always advice to make a shortlist of your top 5 properties that match each of your requirements.

Getting in Touch – After finding properties that catch your eye, the next step would be to get in touch with the agent. Their details are found on the advert and you have a choice of calling them directly or sending them an email enquiry. If you email them, you should expect the hear back within 24 hours.

Schedule Your Viewing – Arrange with the Estate Agent a suitable time and date for yourself to view the property. The rental market is very fast paced and we therefore always advise viewing at your earliest convenience to avoid losing out on the property.

On the Viewing – When you are on the viewing, take a good look around and take your time. Ask as many questions as you can think of, as the more you know the more you can put your mind at ease moving forward.

Is it the one?! Decide whether the property is the one for you.

Let board DB

Submit an offer – Speak to the agent who showed you the property and advise them you wish to proceed and submit your offer. Within your offer, you want to include the monthly rental price, contract start date, length of contract and any conditions you may have (professional clean, removal of any items etc).

Offer Acceptance – The agent will then formally submit your offer to the landlord and revert with their comments. This usually takes between 24-48 hours.

Holding Deposit Transfer – Once the terms of your offer have been accepted, the agent will ask you to transfer a two-week holding deposit to show you are committed to the property and in turn will reserve the flat, withdraw it from the market and cancel all further viewings that are booked in.

References – Once a holding deposit has cleared in the agent’s client account, they will then commence with references. We advise gathering these documents whilst the agent is speaking to the landlord as it can help speed up the process and put you one step ahead. References usually include – passport, three months’ bank statements, three months’ pay slips, work reference/contract & previous landlord reference (if applicable).

Remainder of the monies – You have just received the great news that you have passed the reference checks – whoop! The agent will then request you transfer the remainder of the monies to them which include one month’s rent in advance, a further four-week security deposit and any additional administration costs.

Signing of the contract – We strongly advise you have a thorough read of the contract before signing as it is legally binding.Handing over the house keys from one person to another.

Inventory Check In – An inventory clerk will be scheduled to go to the property & note down the condition prior to occupation. Come the end of your tenancy, a check out clerk will be scheduled to ensure the flat is given back in the same condition it is given to you. This document is vital as it can potentially save you hundreds or thousands of pounds should there be any disputes.

Move in day – The day has finally arrived!! Time to put your feet up, kettle on and enjoy your new home!

Cozy home. Candles, book and cup of tea

Serving Notice for Possession of a Residential Property

Text Eviction Notice typed on retro typewriter

Since the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 came into force, it is illegal for a landlord to harass or try to force their tenants out of the property without following the correct procedures.

As a Landlord, you may reach a point during the tenancy where you may want to regain possession of your property. This could be due to non-payment of rent, antisocial behaviour,  unauthorised works etc. So can you do, if you need to take possession?

Most properties are let on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement. The most common types of Notice are Section 21 and Section 8. A Landlord can serve a Section 21 Notice without any grounds for possession of the property or a Section 8 Notice with sufficient grounds.

The simplest of Notices is Section 21 under the Housing Act 1988.  This can be enacted so long as the Landlord has followed the correct contractual and legal procedures. Otherwise obtaining possession could become difficult. A Landlord can use this Notice to evict a tenant by either

  1. A) it is after a fixed term tenancy ends, (if there is a written contract)


  1. B) during a tenancy with no fixed date, known as a “Periodic Tenancy”

You cannot use a Section 21 notice if the procedures have not been followed, for example did you know that a tenant must have seen the gas safety certificate, EPC and the Governments Guide on How to Rent Guide. We must also remember that a Section 21 cannot be served within the first 6 months of a tenancy, also if the fixed term has not ended unless there is a break clause in the contract.

There are circumstances where your Section 21 Notice will be invalid. Such as properties that have been served with an Improvement Notice or houses of multiple occupation (HMO’s), without a licence from the council.

You must note that a Section 21 provide the tenant with 2 month’s notice to vacate.

A Section 8 Notice has different grounds which need to be satisfied by the court that have been broken by the tenant. There are mandatory and discretionary grounds. The Notice period varies for each ground.

It is important to notice that in both cases, if the tenant has not vacated upon expiry of the Notice, the Landlord must apply to the court for possession. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as serving a Notice and obtaining possession.

It is always advisable for a landlord to seek legal advice when completing a Section 8 or Section 21 Notice.

We are Recruiting …. Graduate Building Surveyor


We are looking for:

A graduate Building Surveyor, 1 years’ post graduate experience ideal and a working knowledge of Party Wall matters and/or Contract Administration.

We are:

A well established, multi-disciplinary practice in the West End.  We offer a friendly working environment, a company dog and opportunities for training to complete RICS qualification.

Expressions of interest to:

Tony Guerguis –

David Moon –



20 Iconic Locations in Fitzrovia & Soho

Being Estate Agents in fabulous Fitzrovia, we know the best places to go to eat, drink, be merry & to simply just enjoy the often-unexplored delights this neighbourhood has to offer.  As my mother always said to me “When you walk, look up or you’ll miss so much”, and she was spot on, so with that in mind Emma and Hannah took to the streets in the morning sunshine with their cameras (iPhones) with the purpose of showing you the weird & wonderful in our local streets which you might have never known were there.  Here’s what we found…

1  C O L V I L L E  P L A C E

Colville Place is a paved court connecting Charlotte Street with Whitfield Street. It was planned as a double row of modest dwellings, three storeys in height in stock brick with a plain parapet masking the roofs. Each house had two sash windows on the first and second floors, and the entrance door, with rectangular fanlight, and one window on the ground floor.  An old lamp stands in the centre line where the sloping pavement from each side met.  It was named after John Colville – a carpenter who helped to build it.

Colville Place

2  L E A F  L O V E R – G R E A T  T I T C H F I E L D S T R E E T

Emma eyeing up the blooms on show at this new addition to the area.

Leaf Lover (florist - its just opened) - Great Titchfield Street

3  S A N D E R S O N  H O T E L – B E R N E R S  S T R E E T

I get the feeling, somebody’s watching me….  Soft yet sophisticated with a twist of surprise.

Sanderson Hotel

4  N E W M A N P A S S A G E

This narrow alleyway links Newman & Rathbone Streets.  Dripping with Victorian atmosphere you’d expect Sherlock Holmes to pop around the corner!

Newman Passage

5  C H A R L O T T E  S T R E E T  H O T E L

Charming & quintessentially British, looking resplendent with the addition of Bloomsbury Flowers London, spreading their flowery love!

Charlotte Street Hotel

6  F I T Z R O Y S Q U A R E & B T  T O W E R

Fitzroy Square was originally part of the Bloomsbury Conservation Area,  over the years it has become associated with high-end, bohemian residents, many of which have had prominent careers in the Arts, Virginia Woolf to name but one.

So much adoration for the BT Tower!  But there didn’t used to be … back in the day when it was built (1965) Fitzrovia was a haven for both artists and aristocrats & the BT Tower was met with harsh criticism as it was thought it’s design wasn’t compatible with the areas, The critics of the tower in the 60s have since reversed their opinion, calling it a “building of merit”.

Fitzroy Sq

7  T H E  A T T E N D A N T – F O L E Y S T R E E T

Is she popping down for a coffee, or to spend a penny?!

Foley Street - Fitzrovia's mini village

8  T H E F I T Z R O V I A  M U R A L – W H I T F I E L D  G A R D E N S

A historic mural painted in 1980, the mural depicts various unnamed characters of Fitzrovia, the top half painted by Mick Jones (son of trade union leader Jack Jones), and the bottom half by Simon Barber.

Whitfield Gardens (looked up on google for more info)

9  P E A R S O N  S Q U A R E

This square was named after the Victorian architect John Loughborough Pearson, who designed the site of the Middlesex Hospital which first opened in 1745.  The hospital is no longer there, but instead there is a modern – some might say Brutalist, development in its place.

Pearson Square (brutalist architecture)PL

10  F I T Z R O V I A  C H A P E L

This exquisite piece of architecture was part of the Middlesex Hospital and stands in Pearson Square.  A space offering an oasis of tranquillity, peace & calm, and is open from 11am to 4pm every Wednesday.

The Fitzrovia Chapet


11  M E A R D  S T R E E T

Meard Street

Reputed to have been a street where ladies of the night worked in times gone by….

12   G A Y – O L D C O M P T O N  S T R E E T


Soho has a huge LGBT community and this nightclub is world famous.

13   T H E  Y A R D

The Yard - Colour

Soho’s most unique gay venue! It has a very pretty garden, tucked away in Rupert Street.

14   L I N A  S T O R E S

Lina Stores

This iconic family-run delicatessen is piled high with delicious home made pasta, cheese, cured meats & groceries.  Got your taste buds tingling?  You’ll find it on Brewer Street!

15   S O H O   S Q U A R E

Soho Sq

An oasis in the middle of Soho, just behind Oxford Street.  Have you ever wondered what’s inside the Tudor-style hut?  An urban myth claims it’s the entrance to a secret tunnel which leads to Buckingham Palace.  We can neither confirm or deny….

16   S O H O  H O T E L

Soho Hotel

Tucked away in Richmond Mews, this hotel is a great place to people watch (or celebrity spot), an very funky bar, with a library room and sometimes a cinema.

17   F I T Z R O Y  T A V E R N – C H A R L O T T E  S T R E E T

The Fitzroy Tavern

It would be hard to cover Fitzrovia without including it’s most famous pub.  This pub has been a haunt for many a London luminary over the years including Augustus John, Jacob Epstein & the famous occultist Aleister Crowley.

18   W A R R E N  M E W S


The beautiful cobbled Warren Mews – hidden away off Warren Street, you wouldn’t think you were in central London!

19   B E R W I C K  S T R E E T M A R K E T


Street trading in Berwick Street started around the late 1770s, but wasn’t officially recognised as a market until 1892.  As you can see it’s still as popular as ever (had a lovely, juicy watermelon there this afternoon!).

20   T H E G R E E N  D O O R – 1 M A R G A R E T  S T R E E T


And we really couldn’t finish this without mentioning the only Racing Green front door in Fitzrovia “Ooh, who lives there?” You may be asking yourself, well it’s the home of the friendly Davis Brown team – pop along and see us anytime!

Should I assign or sub-let my commercial lease?

Lease agreement document with keys and pen

If you are planning to vacate your commercial premises it could be costly to negotiate a surrender of the lease with the Landlord, especially if there are several years remaining on the lease. To avoid this expense, an option could be to find a third party to occupy the premises covering the costs you would otherwise be paying. This can be done either by sub-letting or assigning your lease.

It is first important to read your lease and understand what the Tenant’s ‘alienation’ rights are as this could restrict your options. It is then essential to understand the key differences between the two, in order to decide on the best option, depending on specific circumstances.

In simple terms an assignment of a lease is the transfer of a lease to a third-party who will become the new tenant or ‘Assignee’. They will pay rent directly to the Landlord and take over all the responsibilities as stated in the original lease.

In a sub-lease the original Tenant continues to pay rent to the Landlord as usual, but the ‘sub-lessee’ would pay the original occupier a rent in return for occupying the premises.

So, what are the costs and benefits of each?

When sub-letting a premises there is an opportunity to negotiate with the ‘sub-lessee’ and potentially achieve a higher rent or ‘profit’ rent. Terms within the sub-lease, such as a break-option could be included, which would allow the ‘sub-lessor’ to re-occupy the space. Depending on wording within the original lease there may be the option of sub-letting part of the demise. This appeals to many tenants if they are occupying more space than is required and want to reduce costs yet are planning to reoccupy the space when they expand in the future.

When sub-letting, the relationship between Landlord and the original Tenant does not change. The Tenant will remain liable for any costs, such as dilapidations at the end of the lease, no matter what the sub-tenant does. It is therefore important to have a carefully drafted sub-lease to avoid any problems or unexpected costs caused by the sub-tenant in the future.

In an assignment, the lease is transferred to the ‘Assignee’, and they will pay the Landlord directly. The ‘Assignor’ will longer be responsible for any costs or responsibilities within the lease and can walk away from the premises. There may also be an opportunity to seek a premium if the passing rent is significantly below the Market Rent.

The Landlord may request the ‘Assignor’ acts as a guarantor before they will grant consent for the assignment of the lease. This will mean that if the ‘Assignee’ stops paying the rent or goes into administration the Landlord can come back to the original Tenant to recover cost.  To reduce this risk, one should look for a company with a strong financial covenant when assigning a lease.

If you are considering assigning or sub-letting your space, there will be several factors you will need to consider that could include:

Is there an opportunity to get a ’profit’ rent or a premium?

What is permitted within the lease?

What are the costs of managing a sub-tenant?

What is the risk of the sub-tenant / assignee being unable to pay the rent?

And finally, to avoid any unforeseen costs or problems it is always worth seeking professional advice in advance!

20 Buildings to open over the last 20 Years – London

Us Londoners are so incredibly lucky with the architecture we are blessed with – our skyline is forever changing and there is always something new to admire/detest!  As it’s our 20th birthday this year, we’d love to share some of the capital’s buildings that have either been built or refurbished or added to in the last 20 years.

T H E  S H A R D

Opened in February 2013.


T H E  W A L K I E T A L K I E  aka  2 0 F E N C H U R C H  S T

Opened in May 2014.


Q U E E N S  originally an Art Deco cinema – now an apartment block

Opened November 2014.


B A T T E R S E A  P O W E R  S T A T I O N  – now residential and commercial units

Opened 2017.


3 0  S T  M A R Y  A X E  aka  T H E  G H E R K I N

Opened April 2004.


S T  P A N C R A S  S T A T I O N

The renewal opened November 2007.


L E A D E N H A L L  B U I L D I N G  aka T H E  C H E E S E  G R A T E R

Opened July 2014.


T H E  M I L L E N N I U M  D O M E

Opened 31st December 1999!



Opened June 2016.


O L Y M P I C  S T A D I U M

Opened May 2012.


F I T Z R O Y  P L A C E  aka  P E A R S O N  S Q U A R E  (developed from the former Middlesex Hospital site)

Opened 2015.


C I T Y  H A L L

Opened July 2002.

Using in-camera HDR in low light.

W E M B L E Y  S T A D I U M

The new 90,000 stadium opened 2007.


E M I R A T E S  S T A D I U M – home of Arsenal football club

Opened 2006.


C E N T R E  P O I N T – now a residential block

Opened 2018.

Centre Point 1

B B C  B U I L D I N G – new refurbishment

Opened June 2013.


P L I M S O L L  B U I L D I N G

Opened 2017.


photo ref:

L O N D O N  E D I T I O N  H O T E L  (formerly the Berners Hotel.)

Opened 2013.


T H E  B R I T I S H  L I B R A R Y

Opened in 1998.


M I L L E N N I U M  B R I D G E aka W O B B L Y  B R I D G E

Opened June 2000.


Candy for the eyes! 20 London Square Gardens.

Garden Squares were created by the Georgians and Victorians to bring the feeling of the countryside in to the city.  They were, and still are a place to socialise with your friends and neighbours.  As Estate & Letting Agents in the West End we are often whizzing around the back streets admiring the beautiful gardens around us, some are so tranquil it’s difficult to believe you are actually in the Big Smoke!  Here are 20 of our faves …

rosmead garden 2

Rosemead Gardens, W11  

This square has very romantic connotations – it was where Hugh Grant & Julia Roberts trespassed in the film Notting Hill.


Fassett Square, Hackney

Does this square ring any bells with soap fans?  It should do as it inspired the EastEnders set!


Fitzroy Square, Fitzrovia


Paddington Street Gardens, Marylebone

This was created during the 18th century as an additional burial ground for the old St Marylebone Parish Church.


Brunswick Square, Bloomsbury

This is 3 acres of public gardens in London’s West End. Complete with red telephone box!


Manchester Square, Marylebone

This is the square facing towards Manchester House, which houses the world renowned Wallace Collection.


Bryanston Square, Marylebone

Named after its founder Henry William Portman’s home village of Bryanston in Dorset, it was built as part of the Portman Estate between 1810 and 1815.


Lennox Gardens, Chelsea

Lennox Gardens was created in the late 19th century, formerly being a cricket ground.


Queen Square, Bloomsbury

There has been confusion about this statue in Queen Square, it was first thought to be Queen Anne, but more recently is believed to be depicting Queen Charlotte.  Will we ever know for sure?!


Bonnington Square Gardens, Vauxhall

This “secret” square is a beautiful place to relax and have fun.  It’s quite bohemian with vegan cafes and parties held throughout the Summer months.


Cleaver Square Gardens, Kennington

This Georgian Square in south London has long been used as a bowling green and looks stunning in the spring when all the cherry blossom is in bloom.  There’s a gorgeous little pub on the corner too!


Belgrave Square Gardens, Knightsbridge

A beautiful place to relax in central London.


Bedford Square Gardens, Bloomsbury

It is one of London’s most beautiful and best-preserved historic squares. It was built between 1776 and 1780 as a scenic residential area for the city’s upper middle class.


The fountain at Russell Square Gardens, Bloomsbury.


Rathbone Square Gardens, Fitzrovia

This new development includes offices, retail,  restaurants and premium residential all centred around a new garden square.


 Cleveland Square Gardens, Paddington

Cleveland Square was created in 1855 when the formerly rural area was being developed as part of the Paddington Estate.


Portman Square, Marylebone

This picture dates back to 1878 with Montagu House facing the Square.

 Chalcot Square, Primrose Hill

Ted Hughes & Sylvia Plath lived here in the 60s; it’s unmistakeable coloured houses surrounding it.


Downing Street Gardens, W1

A private garden, but one weekend each year there are many private garden squares that are open to the public – don’t miss out!


Rosary Gardens, SW7

In the 1820s the land on which this development now stands was a 3 acre field called Rosehall, hence the current name.  A very sought after area in Kensington.



Our city is filled with characterful and beautiful buildings but living in London means you sometimes have to compromise on space. As Estate Agents in London, more often than not we hear our clients saying ‘there’s not enough storage space’.  It really is key when selling or letting and it is important to the buyer.

Here are our 20 favourite storage ideas…



The fireplace is often the focal point in a room – adding storage around it will create a space for all sorts – books, pictures, whatever you fancy.


Under stairs storage

A great place for cupboards, book case display or a work space.


Minimalist open space, white kitchen with mezzanine and modern spiral staircase, loft with bedroom, concept interior design background, architect designer idea

London has row upon row of beautiful converted houses. The ground floor and first floor often have ceiling heights of 3.5 metres so how about adding a cool mezzanine floor?

If your not a fan of the mezzanine, consider building full height cupboards to maximise the space.


bed storage

This is a genius idea – particularly for small bedrooms where you can’t get a lot more in than just a bed.


We love a window seat, great for sitting on and admiring the view and would make a good seating area for guests.

Shabby chest of drawer with pillows



Fantastic space saving in small rooms or where you want the sleek, minimalist look.




3d rendering interior and exterior design by myself


If you have an empty wall, use it. Build wardrobes, shelves and cupboards.



Out of sight, out of mind!


Stairs with hidden shelves

Probably one of the most novel (& practical) storage ideas ever.


Whatever can hold a shelf do it – get creative!



Sofa in the day. A bed a night. Space saving.

Day bed


Shelving around door


Island storage

A convenient place to keep all that kitchen paraphernalia plus an attractive addition to the kitchen.


A great use of otherwise wasted space.



Folding sofa bed couch with storage space, isolated on white background, saved path selection.

Pretty much everything you sit on can double up as an ottoman.



Yup – the humble headboard can now double up as storage space – who knew?!  Ikea does a good line.


They make pretty features and are perfect for displaying/storing toiletries.

Bathroom alvoce


Spiral wine cellar

Well, why not?!


A movable kitchen island or a movable table can then be wheeled from room to room if desired.

kitchen island on wheels



20 Alternative Construction Materials, Techniques and Technologies

  1. R A M M E D  E A R T H

This age-old technique has existed since at least the Neolithic period and involves compressing damp earth to construct foundations, floors and walls.


  1. C O B

Similar to rammed earth but with straw included to act as a binder.


  1. ADOBE

Similar to rammed earth but where individual bricks are formed from the local soil.


  1. S T R A W-B A L E  C O N S T R U C T I O N

Although this method of constructing walls is ancient, it has seen a recent revival among passive environmentally friendly designs.

"using straw as a construction material is a new and ecologic way of vconstruction. In Germany it is getting more and more into fashion to build a house out ot straw. The picture shows the frame work, the compartments are filled with pressed straw. Inside  a 5 cm layer of clay plaster will be applied, the outside will be covered with wood panels. This way of construction is not only ecological, but creates a very comfortable living environment."
“using straw as a construction material is a new and ecologic way of vconstruction. In Germany it is getting more and more into fashion to build a house out ot straw. The picture shows the frame work, the compartments are filled with pressed straw. Inside a 5 cm layer of clay plaster will be applied, the outside will be covered with wood panels. This way of construction is not only ecological, but creates a very comfortable living environment.”
  1. B I O  C O N C R E T E 

A recent development by a microbiologist, this is like regular concrete but mixed with a type of bacteria which is capable of self-repairing cracks when activated by water.


  1. A S H C R E T E 

This is an alternative to concrete which involves using fly ash instead of cement.


  1. P A P E R C R E T E 

This material is created by combining re-pulped paper fibre with Portland cement and soil.


  1. B A M B O O 

This versatile and durable material can be used for almost every element of a building and is considered one of the most eco-friendly materials on the planet.


  1. E A R T H S H I P  H O M ES 

These are typically off-the-grid homes which are constructed entirely with recycled and/or natural materials.

One of the famous Taos Earthship homes under construction.  Showing the building materials of earth, soda cans, and column forms of the structure.
One of the famous Taos Earthship homes under construction. Showing the building materials of earth, soda cans, and column forms of the structure.
  1. S H I P P I N G  C O N T A I N E R  H O M E S 

Utilising a used shipping container to form the shell of your home has become more popular in recent years.


  1. 3-D  P R I N T I N G 

Recent innovations in technology have meant that printing houses is now a possibility.

Three dimensional printing machine
Three dimensional printing machine
  1. M Y C E L I U M 

Although yet not a tried and tested construction technique, this rootlike part of fungus has recently been used to manufacture furniture and could start being used as an organic building material.


  1. F E R R O C K 

This is a material which involves making use of steel dust, which is a by-product produced by the steel industry, to create a concrete-like building material.


  1. C R U M B  R U B B E R 

Recycled rubber produced from particles of used tires. Typically used for surfacing and roofing purposes.


  1.  D E S E R T  S A N D  C O N C R E T E 

As typical types of sand used in construction is dwindling, this type of concrete could become very popular if successful in development.


  1. I C E 

Only works in certain climates. Every year in Jukkasjarvi, a village in Sweden, they build an entire hotel of out ice which melts as the season changes.

Icehotel in Jukkaj?rvi, Kiruna, north of Sweden
Icehotel in Jukkaj?rvi, Kiruna, north of Sweden
  1. B O T T L E S 

Glass bottles have been known to have been used in wall construction, usually in conjunction with cob/rammed earth. There is a temple in Thailand made from more than 1 million beer bottles.


  1. S A L T 

Not the most widely used material in construction. The hotel Palacio de Sal Resort is a hotel constructed from salt on a Bolivian salt plain.


  1. P L A S P H AL T 

Typically used for road construction, this product is made up of grains of plastic waste which replaces sand and gravel in asphalt production.


  1. N E W S P A P E R  W O O D 

This is created simply by rolling up old newspapers and combining with glue. This can be used in many cases as an alternative to wood

20 Top Tips on Planning Permission

  1. Do you need Planning Permission? 

Under Permitted Development Rights you can extend up to set parameters and may not need planning permission at all.

Part of architectural project with pen

  1. Listed Building Consent 

If your property is listed you will need Listed Building Consent as well as Planning Consent.

  1. Understanding what precedent means

People incorrectly assume that if someone else has done it, they will be able to get the same  feature on their house with no problems.

These houses may have had these features for a long period of time and these could have been approved through a certificate of lawfulness. Also planning policy changes and the feature you want may now not be in favour with the local authority.

  1. Use the pre-app system

The pre-app system is there to help you put in an application which will get approved. It will generally only cost a few hundred pounds and the likelihood of the application going through it greatly increased and should save you a great deal of time with refusals, although this is not guaranteed.

Kitchen doors with various of kitchen cabinet wood color samples, various of kitchen counter top samples and various of painting colors samples overwhite kitchen design drawing.

  1. Talk to your neighbours

Always talk to your neighbours before putting in your application. If you are going to disagree its better that its at this early stage so you can try and come to an agreement. Rather than them putting in an objection once the application is in and it being refused for something that could have been avoided. You will usually need cooperation from your neighbours in the course of a build so it’s not worth starting off on the wrong foot.

Ultimately a neighbour’s objection will not stop your application going through if it’s in line with policy but when it comes to further down the line and you need a scaffolding licence from them, a chat before it all starts can do wonders.

  1. Get Design Advice

Appoint an architect early to go through potential designs and what is feasible.

  1. Appointing a Builder 

Get several quotes from recommended builders and ask for references along with evidence of their insurance. When you receive the quotes ensure it is itemised and don’t forget about VAT. 

  1. Party Walls

You can’t start work until you have your party wall awards signed off! Speak to Davis Brown!

Side extension 2

  1. Inform your Insurer

Before you start work you will need to inform your insurer that you are carrying out works to the house and you may face an increase in your premium for the period of the build. If you fail to inform your insurers of the work you may not be covered if something happens during the build.

  1. Do you need a Rights of Light Survey?

Are you adjacent to another property with windows? In which case you will probably need a right of light survey.

  1. Tree Preservation Orders 

Check if the property has any TPO (Tree Preservations Orders), these are protected and cannot be removed.

  1. Ecology

Protected species like newts, reptiles and bats can stand in the way of development! If you anticipate any of these on your site you need to get an ecological survey undertaken.

  1. Drainage

You need to consider how the build will be drained and what it will link into, such as a public sewer and in the case of surface water a soakaway.

Side extension 3

  1. Time Limits

Most planning consents expire after 3 years so don’t leave it too late once you have consent!

  1. Planning Refused

If your planning is refused all is not lost, you can go to appeal and if rejected there you can take it to the High Court.

  1. How much does a planning application cost?

The cost depends on the nature of the build. If you are constructing a new house it will be £462 for a full application whereas a home extension will generally be £206.

  1. What are Planning Conditions?

Sometimes the local authority will impose specific conditions like what materials you can use.

  1. Scaffolding

If your scheme is using scaffolding you may need a licence especially if it’s on another owner’s land.

Side extensions1

  1. How Long Does it take to get Planning?

Once your application has been submitted and accepted as complete along with the fee, the local authority is supposed to determine planning applications within 10 to 12 weeks of registration. The majority of straightforward householder applications will be dealt with within this time frame.

  1. What if I don’t get Planning Consent?

While it is not illegal to develop land without planning permission, it is not lawful and if you have failed to get consent for your project, then the local planning authority can take action to have the work altered or demolished. In this instance, you can make a retrospective planning application and if this is refused you can appeal the decision. If you lose, it can prove very costly.

Altering a listed building without prior permission is, however, a criminal offence, and in extreme cases it can lead to prosecution and unlimited fines — and even imprisonment. So do ensure you apply for this first.