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Does anyone own/live in a Listed Building?

(9 Posts)
CaptainNancy Fri 12-Aug-11 14:25:10

I have been looking at houses, and completely fallen in love with a house that is actually a listed building (Grade II). Is it really worth the hassle and should we look elsewhere? Is it going to be a money pit?

From what I remember with Grade II buildings it's just the exterior you have to preserve... is that right? Or would there be restrictions on the interior too?

The house is in lovely condition- we really wouldn't be doing anything inside anyway, but I'm just worried about selling it in the future as it really won't be a forever house (DH does not believe in such things hmm) more likely we'll be there about 7-10 years or so.
It is very late Georgian if that helps.

Please come and tell me the good, the bad, and the ugly about living in, maintaining, and then re-selling Listed properties!

tiddleypompom Fri 12-Aug-11 14:39:06

Hello Cptn.N,
First off the listing applies to the entirety of the house and anything fixed to it (even a rubbish old wriggly tin lean-to) - the 'only the facade' is a falsey and you'll need permission (listed building consent) to make any changes considered to be material to the original fabric of the building. Given failure to adhere to the obligations of a listing is a criminal offence, I'd suggest you do some research. For example, don't chance purchase without survey - if you found some major works being necessary, any repairs/refurbishment would need permission and can be more expensive (due to need to use original - or authentic - materials and methods of construction. You may also be restricted from such 'improvements' such as double glazing etc.
You'd be well advised to make an introduction to the local authority conservation officer, who would have 'pre-application' discussions with you and give you a steer on what is important to them - though the law is strict, in reality some aspects can be negotiated as ultimately they do want these beautiful old buildings restored and used, not neglected and left to ruin.
I work with listed buildings and am happy to answer any specific questions you may have, but advise you to do further research on the specific house also.
I get very excited about our built heritage and fall for buildings that others consider to be obsolete and best knocked down. Your Georgian house sounds fab...
Hope this helps as starter for 10

Pendeen Fri 12-Aug-11 14:51:28

These are useful sites:

Listedbuildings Online and English Heritage

CaptainNancy Fri 12-Aug-11 15:05:42

Thank you very much both of you (I have Pooh singing in my head now!)

The house has double glazed windows at the rear, in an extension (which I assume was all approved previously) and has sashes with secondary glazing to the front. It has recently beeen renovated, so as I say we'd not be doing anything to it really in the next 5 years or so, unless the roof needed attention (can't actually tell from EA details).

I wouldn't buy anything without full survey, so don't worry about that! grin

It is a local interst listing rather than national type, because there are so few buidings of this era remaining, and it is the group of houses that is listed IYSWIM.

tiddleypompom Fri 12-Aug-11 16:22:34

Hello again,
EAs would never consider it important to mention such things as essential works!
Local listings/conservation areas sometimes insist on traditional front doors (inc. colour) and retention of all existing trees, so if there IS anything you'd want to change, best make sure you can. Do find out is the renovation has the necessary consents, as you COULD (though unlikely) be made to revert to original if the LA weren't aware and won't give retrospective consent. This is real worst case stuff and usually only applicable to statutory listings, but just giving you the full picture - if only as this is the picture any subsequent buyer will also be looking at. Local listings can lead to statutory listing, which though in place to protect heritage, can hit the value of property due to the obligations and cost of refurb - a recent building I worked on was rendered un-saleable thanks to a grade II* listing being wapped on it by EH.
If your interest is genuine - which of course it is (by genuine I mean that it is based on respect and admiration of the building, rather than desire to 'update' beyond recognition) then I don't think you have anything to fear from the recognition it has in terms of architectural merit - as long as the survey doesn't throw up any nasties such as need to underpin foundations, replace roof support, new fenestration, dry rot etc.
I'd suggest introducing yourself to one of your potential neighbours - helpful for a whole load of reasons not least their experience of the restrictions imposed - if any.
Best of luck

beanlet Fri 12-Aug-11 16:30:50

"the 'only the facade' is a falsey and you'll need permission (listed building consent) to make any changes considered to be material to the original fabric of the building."

If the building is only Grade II (as opposed to Grade II*), that only pertains to structural alterations. With Grade II it's perfectly fine to paint the inside of the house whatever colour you like, put up shelves, retile the bathroom, etc., without permission. You will need permission to, e.g., knock a wall down and put up an RSJ, but it's very easy to get permission if the alterations are internal. The best news is any alterations that require listed building permission are zero-rated for VAT.

I own a Grade II listed property and it has been wonderfully easy. And we have done everything legally.

CaptainNancy Fri 12-Aug-11 16:35:42

Arf at 'genuine'! grin
But yes- I do like the look and feel of period properties, and respect their histories- I have no desire to change them.

Yes- trees may be an issue, as the one to the front is somewhat wid and overgrown, and I know friends have had issues with trying to lop a tree in their gardens within a conservation area... will ask how they got on with that. Tbh- if it got to sorting out foundations we would need to walk away.

Thanks for all your advice!

CaptainNancy Fri 12-Aug-11 16:41:48

Oh- x-posted with you beanlet! Yes- I knew Grade II was lower than II*, and as I say above- it's all been redone inside beautifully, adn I can't see us making any changes in the immediate future.

Are you in a conservation area too btw? I assume things like downpipes would all have to be in keeping etc...

GrendelsMum Fri 12-Aug-11 16:46:53

WELL... just how easy it is to change the inside of a Grade II building depends on the policy of the Conservation Officers at your local council. I'm not disagreeing with Beanlet, just saying that I own a listed building in one council, and my sister is a Conservation Officer in the council next door. Their policies are surprisingly different, and our council is far more reluctant to allow changes (word is that they feel they were previously too leniant and have now swung back the other way).

I'd also warn you that the Estate Agents actively lied to us about what would and wouldn't be allowed, what was and wasn't appropriate, etc. Luckily we knew they were trying it on, but it really pissed me off (and what they were suggesting was STUPID). They were bad enough that someone on another forum contacted me to warn me about them.

I'm sure your house has been well renovated lately, BUT God, the amount of things that we have to repair every year. It really is a money pit, and not just a money pit but a time pit too. I'm not sure I regret buying it, but I know I'm very lucky to have the money and time that any problems can be dealt with without causing us difficulties.

But it's a gorgeous house, I love it, it's fun, it's fascinating, and I love even minor things like taking up the carpet and finding out what the floorboards are like.

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