Q&As

Does the four or ten-year enforcement time limit apply to the unauthorised conversion of a single dwelling into two flats?

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Published on LexisPSL on 19/03/2018

The following Planning Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Does the four or ten-year enforcement time limit apply to the unauthorised conversion of a single dwelling into two flats?
  • Time limits
  • Deliberate concealment of planning breaches

Does the four or ten-year enforcement time limit apply to the unauthorised conversion of a single dwelling into two flats?

Development for which planning permission is required is defined in section 55 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (TCPA 1990). TCPA 1990, s 55(3) states that the use as two or more separate dwelling houses of any building previously used as a single dwelling house involves a material change of use. This means planning permission is required for the conversion of a dwelling into two flats.

Time limits

Where there has been a breach of planning control, TCPA 1990, s 171A specifies that enforcement action may be taken. However, TCPA 1990, s 171B provides that no such action may be taken:

  1. in the case of a breach of planning control consisting of the carrying out without planning permission of building, engineering, mining or other operations in, on, over or under land—after the end of the period of four years beginning with the date on which the operations were substantially completed

  2. in the case of a breach of planning control consisting in the change of use of any building to use as a single dwelling

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