The Government has recently announced that permitted development rights, which were first introduced as a temporary measure in 2013, will now be permanent legislation.

Permitted development rights are an automatic grant of planning permission which allow certain building works and changes of use to be carried out without having to make a planning application.

So, what changes are included under permitted development rights and, importantly, what changes are not included?


An extension to a house is generally considered to be permitted development. Although it is worth remembering that different rules apply to flats and maisonettes and there are also different planning restrictions for designated areas such as Conservation Areas and if a property is listed.

Extensions should be no more than half the area of land around the original house, but single storey rear extensions to terraced and semi-detached homes can be up to 6m, while detached houses are able to add even larger structures, up to 8m long.

Conversion of non-domestic Buildings into homes

Under Permitted Development, existing buildings – such as offices, barns and other agricultural buildings – can be converted into homes. There are different rules for agricultural buildings, such as barns, and former office buildings.

In an attempt to release inner-city land for housing it was announced in 2013 that converting office buildings to residential use would be considered a permitted development. Initially a temporary measure, these rights were made permanent in 2015.

Permission is still required for the conversion of barns into dwelling but permitted development rules have made the process easier and increased the number of opportunities for conversion.

 What building work doesn’t fall under permitted development?

The following projects never fall within permitted development rights. This list is not exhaustive but should provide you and your clients with a good idea of the types of alteration that are not included by permitted development.

  • Balconies
  • Verandas
  • Raised platforms
  • Two storey side extensions within 7m of a rear boundary
  • Extensions with eaves higher than 3m (within 2m of a boundary)
  • Extensions exceeding 50% of the original land around the original house
  • Eaves and a ridge of a loft higher than the height of the original house
  • Extensions over 4m tall or exceeding 50% of the width of the original house
  • Extensions at the front of the house
  • Side extensions on designated land
  • Unobscured side windows above ground floor
  • Loft windows that can open when positioned less than 1.7m from the floor

Permitted development provides an excellent opportunity for investors to add value by extending a property, without getting tied up in red tape. And, with the right short-term loan, your clients can arrange fast, cost-effective finance to fund the work and take advantage of this legislation.

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