Planning Portal

 
  1. Do you need permission
  2. Common Projects
  3. Flats and Maisonettes

Flats and Maisonettes

The planning regime for flats and maisonettes differs in many important ways to that which covers houses.

Bear in mind that the permitted development rights which apply to many common projects for houses do not apply to flats.

Read about common projects:

I want to convert a house (or single flat) to a number of flats, bed-sits or other form of subdivision.

Planning Permission

To subdivide a house into multiple units you must obtain planning permission.

If your house is a listed building it is likely you will need listed building consent and you should contact your local planning authority for advice before you start work. Works to a listed building that affect its special historic character without consent is a criminal offence.

If your flat is in a conservation area and your proposals involve an element of demolition then you may need to apply for planning permission for relevant demolition in a conservation area and you should contact your local planning authority for advice.

Building Regulations

  • Conversions of properties require approval under the Building Regulations.
  • You may need to consult the Fire Service regarding issues relating to fire escapes.
  • The Housing Act 2004 requires that sub-divided buildings meet standards and houses in multiple occupation are licensed. Read more about the Housing Act 2004.

I want to build an extension to my ground-floor flat.

Planning Permission

To add an extension to your flat you must apply for planning permission.

If your flat is a listed building it is likely you will need listed building consent and you should contact your local planning authority for advice before you start work.

Works to a listed building that affect its special historic character without consent is a criminal offence.

If your flat is in a conservation area and your proposals involve an element of demolition then you may need to apply for planning permission for relevant demolition in a conservation area and you should contact your local planning authority for advice.

Building Regulations

The majority of extensions or conversions of properties require approval under the Building Regulations. You may need to consult the Fire Service regarding issues relating to fire escapes.

Read more about building regulations relating to extensions.

I want to build a loft conversion in my top floor flat.

Planning Permission

Planning permission may not be required if it is only internal works. However, local interpretation can vary and you should contact your local planning authority for advice.

Permission is required where you extend or alter the roof space.

You should also check whether you own the roof space which you wish to convert. If you are a leaseholder, you may need to get permission from your landlord, freeholder or management company.

If your flat is a listed building it is likely you will need listed building consent and you should contact your local planning authority for advice before you start work. Works to a listed building that affect its special historic character without consent is a criminal offence.

If your flat is in a conservation area and your proposals involve an element of demolition then you may need to apply for planning permission for relevant demolition in a conservation area and you should contact your local planning authority for advice.

Building Regulations

Building regulations approval is required to convert a loft or attic into a liveable space.

Read more about building regulations relating to loft conversions.

I want to change the windows of my flat.

Planning Permission

The planning regime for flats and maisonettes differs in many important ways to that which covers houses.

You may need to apply for planning permission to fit new windows (such as double-glazing) in your flat or maisonette. You will not need planning permission to add internal secondary glazing.

You should not need planning permission if you are fitting windows which are identical, like-with-like replacements. However, if the new windows differ in appearance or size to those you are replacing (for instance, different glazing patterns) you may need to apply for planning permission.

Local policy and interpretation of the rules covering changing windows in flats varies from council to council and you are advised to contact your Local Planning Authority for advice before starting work.

If you are a leaseholder, you may first need to get permission from your landlord, freeholder or management company

If your flat is in a listed building it is very likely you will need listed building consent and you should contact your local planning authority for advice on design and materials before you start work. Works to a listed building that affect its special historic character without consent is a criminal offence.

If your flat is in a conservation area and your proposals involve an element of demolition then you may need to apply for planning permission for relevant demolition in a conservation area and you should contact your local planning authority for advice.

Building Regulations

Since 1 April 2002 building regulations have applied to all replacement glazing. The regulations apply to thermal performance and other areas such as safety, air supply, means of escape and ventilation.

I want to paint the outside of my flat.

Planning Permission

You will not need to apply for planning permission to paint or maintain the external walls of your flat or maisonette. However in some areas these rights have been removed (by way of what is known as an article 4 direction).

If you are a leaseholder, you may first need to get permission from your landlord, freeholder or management company.

If your flat is a listed building you will need listed building consent, unless it is repainting in the existing colour, and you should contact your local planning authority to determine this.

Works to a listed building that affect its special historic character without consent is a criminal offence.

I want to install a satellite dish for my flat.

Planning Permission

In certain circumstances, you will need to apply for planning permission to install a satellite dish on your flat or maisonette.

Read more about planning permission relating to satellite dishes.

If you are a leaseholder you may need to obtain permission from the landlord, freeholder or management company.

If your flat is a listed building you will need listed building consent and you should contact your local planning authority for advice before you start work. Works to a listed building that affect its special historic character without consent is a criminal offence.

I want convert a space above a shop into a flat

Planning Permission

You may be able to convert space over a shop (and certain space over premises with a display window), or over a ground floor office, into up to two flats without putting in a planning application if you can answer yes to the following requirements:

  • The space is in the same class of use as the shop or office to start with (either Class A1 or A2).
  • The space is not in a separate planning unit from the shop
  • You will not change the outside appearance of the building
  • If there is a display window at ground floor level, you will not incorporate any of the ground floor into the flat

Building Regulations

The regulations define this as a 'material change of use' and specify the requirements with which, as a result of that change of use, the whole or part of the building must comply (e.g. those concerned with escape and other fire precautions, hygiene, sound insulation, and energy conservation).

The whole, or at least part, of the building may therefore need to be up-graded to make it comply with the specified requirements.

Disclaimer

This is an introductory guide and is not a definitive source of legal information. Read the full disclaimer here.

This guidance relates to the planning regime for England. Policy in Wales may differ. If in doubt contact your Local Planning Authority.