Why might I need a lawful development certificate?

A lawful development certificate (also known as a certificate of lawfulness) isn’t a legal requirement for you to start your build, they’re a great idea and stop issues with your local authority and future buyers down the line.

In a nutshell, an LDC acts as a form of official proof signed by your local authority that the project was legal when construction started. This is very useful when it comes to selling your house or if planning policies change, as you can provide evidence that your project complied with standards at the time.

When do I need a lawful development certificate?

If you’re making use of your Permitted Development Rights, LDCs mean you’ve got documentation from your local authority that your planned project meets legal requirements without needing to submit a full planning application – so they’re pretty handy. 

Making the most of your Permitted Development Rights is something of a build-by-numbers exercise, as the rules around what you can and can’t build are fairly clear – our blog has more information. 

new build extension

In addition, there are certain conditions that apply – but the majority of houses have some kind of permitted development rights attached to them. 

Although it seems like just another expense, it’s not a big one, and with good plans by an architect by your side, you’re almost certain to have it approved and you can start construction with confidence, knowing your project is 100% compliant. 

Even if you extend your house and then move out years later, the LDC is proof that whatever you built at the time was legal, even if planning policies and the conditions Permitted Development Rights change. 

Do I absolutely need an LDC?

Given how simple it is to get one (the application is straightforward, you should already have the architect’s plans, and it’s inexpensive) you’re shooting yourself in the foot if you don’t bother to get one.

Why? If you’re extending to sell on, future buyers tends to be advised to ask for them will be wary of putting an offer in an extended property if there’s no proof the build adhered to building guidelines. Nobody wants to buy a house where there’s a risk they might have to demolish the build or face a fine!

It’s possible to get a lawful development certificates in retrospect, but that’s also a risky bet. Not only does it cost twice as much, if your extension breaches any condition or the dimensions fall outside PD dimensions, the local authority will really throw the book at you and you might be obliged to demolish what you’ve built. 

Don’t take the risk! 

What do I need to apply?

  • An application form
  • Evidence verifying the information within the application – such your architectural plans
  • A site location plan
  • A fee of £103 (50% of a full planning permission application)

Your architect will often help out with this section for a nominal fee – and it’s takes a weight off your shoulders, so ask!

How long does it take to get an LDC?

Once you submit your application, you might be waiting up to 8 weeks for a decision. 

If your application hasn’t been decided (this is unusual if you’ve had professional input) or gets rejected, then you can appeal. These are, however, time-consuming so investing in help from professionals from the outset is a good idea. 

Get the professionals in!

If you’ve got plans to extend and make the most of your Permitted Development Rights, save yourself the stress and headache and come and speak to us.

We can help you with your design and submit your Lawful Development Certificate, so you can start building with confidence! Drop us a line on our chat, send us a message or give us a call. Let’s get started on your project!