For anyone who is keen to buy property in Hayes, the prospect of investing in a listed building is something of a double edged sword. On one hand, there is all of the pleasure and privilege of being the proud owner of a beautiful and valuable period home, but on the other, there are restrictions and obligations to contend with, which can also increase the hassle and cost associated with carrying out any improvements or repairs. Yet, for those who are willing to make the necessary investment of time, money and care, having a listed building as a home can be a true asset to the London property market.
Listed buildings in the London housing market
Properties which are deemed to be of special historic or architectural interest are often added to the register of listed buildings, which is designed to protect these structures from being modified inappropriately or badly maintained by their owners.
While carrying out some minor repairs will usually be considered to be acceptable, most projects relating to home improvement require special consent, which adds time and expense to the process. Should the local authority find that the owner has failed to properly maintain the property or has made unauthorised alterations, they may demand that repairs are carried out at the owner’s expense, or, in the worst cases, may even make the property the subject of a compulsory purchase order.
Harry Singh, Henry Wiltshire estate agent in Hayes, often advises buyers about the essential factors to consider when buying a listed property. “There are over 300 buildings and sites of historical or architectural importance in Hillingdon alone,” he says “with most of these being Grade II. Some people who buy property in UB3 are unaware of the implications of investing in a listed building, and it’s our duty to inform them of their obligations and requirements”.
The implications of buying a listed home in Hayes
While some people believe that the listed status of a property relates solely to its exterior, this is actually not the case. Buildings are listed both inside and out, and even if a property feature isn’t mentioned specifically in the description, that doesn’t mean that it has no legal protection. In fact, not only may the house itself be subject to restrictions, but even its surrounding land, walls and paving may be included.
The good news is that it’s still possible to make changes to a listed home, and in fact, the majority of applications for alterations are approved. However, any repairs have to match the existing materials and details, and any improvements may well have to be reversible. This means that there may well be insurance implications to consider as repair and rebuilding costs are likely to be higher in these cases.
When investing in property in Hayes with listed status, it’s important for buyers to note that consent is usually required for even a seemingly minor change, and even small jobs like painting the walls or cleaning the brickwork without the appropriate permission could lead to expensive remedial works, or even prosecution.
Some dos and don’ts when buying a listed building
- Before a buyer purchases a listed building they should first ensure that consent was given for all alterations that the previous owners carried out.
- Any extensions, alterations or repairs should only be planned and carried out by builders and architects with previous listed building experience.
- Listed building consent is required for any works as well as building control approval and planning permission, and written confirmation must be obtained before any work is commenced.
- The cost of rebuilding and repairs should never be underestimated when insuring the property.
Those who buy a property in Hayes with listed status can enjoy the many benefits of owning a historic building, however they must always ensure to adhere to their legal obligations, otherwise they could find that their new home costs them more than they expected.