Q&As

If a property has permission to be used as separate apartments, can this use be said to be abandoned if the house was used as a single family dwelling for 20 years? The house retained its physical layout as separate apartments during the time it was used as a single dwelling.

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Published on LexisPSL on 27/04/2021

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

  • If a property has permission to be used as separate apartments, can this use be said to be abandoned if the house was used as a single family dwelling for 20 years? The house retained its physical layout as separate apartments during the time it was used as a single dwelling.

If a property has permission to be used as separate apartments, can this use be said to be abandoned if the house was used as a single family dwelling for 20 years? The house retained its physical layout as separate apartments during the time it was used as a single dwelling.

This Q&A assumes that it is unknown whether the original permission was only for a change of use or also for the construction or conversion of the apartment block. It is also unknown whether or not the permission was implemented in time.

Please also note that this response reflects the position in England and Wales.

If the planning permission for use as separate apartments was never implemented, then the planning use associated with that permission may never have crystallised or become lawful. See Practice Note: Implementing planning permission.

However, if the house has retained its physical layout as separate apartments, this suggests that the planning permission for use as separate apartments was implemented. Use rights granted by planning permission cannot be abandoned. However, they may be lost when there is a material change in use to another use if reversion to the former use will normally itself involve development requiring

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