The four year rule explained

publication date: May 21, 2019
 | 
author/source: Guest article from Urbanist Architecture

The four year rule explained

 

Certificate of lawfulness application for existing use or development





Want to know more about 4 Year Rule?

If you need a formal decision from your council to show that your existing use or development is lawful, then you can submit an application for Certificate of Lawfulness, known as 4 Year Rule Planning.

  • Ever wonder how landlords convert their houses into a number of flats without first seeking planning permission?
  • Ever wonder how restaurateurs convert A1 Retail Shops into A3 Restaurants without first seeking planning permission?


Perhaps you’ve heard of a Certificate of Lawfulness, which you can obtain after 4 years by using the Four Year Rule so bear with us, because we're going to show you how you can bypass planning permission by getting a Certificate of Lawfulness using the Four Year Rule!

What is a Certificate of Lawfulness for Existing Use or Development?

A certificate of lawfulness is a legal document rather than planning permission.

Here at Urbanist Architecture we regularly make Certificate of Lawfulness applications on behalf of our clients as a means to regularise their unauthorised development and in advance of enforcement proceedings by the council.

For example, if you have split your house into flats and rented the flats out continuously for a period in excess of four years, you can get Certificate of Lawfulness using the Four Year Rule to regularise your development.

If you have converted your house into flats without planning permission and need to get Certificate of Lawfulness to regularise your unlawful development or want to avoid enforcement action being taken against you, send us an email now to request your FREE quote.


Certificate of Lawfulness Applications secured by Urbanist Architecture for 3 self-contained flats


Why Should I Apply for Certificate of Lawfulness for Existing Use or Development?

A Certificate of Lawfulness allows you to make a formal application for a certificate to determine whether your unauthorised use or development can become lawful through the passage of time, and can be continued without the need for planning permission.

Fact: If you are selling your property, the buyer’s solicitor will ask you to provide this certificate. Or if you are applying for re-mortgage, your mortgage lender may request to see this certificate.

Want to know more about the Four Year Rule? Read on…


Why Should I Apply for Certificate of Lawfulness for Existing Use or Development?


Do I Qualify for the 4 Year Rule?

 You can apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness if you can demonstrate that:

 

  • There has been a continuous use of land or buildings (other than a dwelling) for more than 10 years
  • A condition or limitation on planning permission has not been complied with for more than 10 years
  • Building or other operations have been completed for more than four years
  • A building (not land) has been used as a dwelling house (house or flat) for more than four years


"Four Year Rule: The only exception is where the use of a building is as a dwelling house –  i.e. it is the Use Class C3 and includes houses and flats. In this case, you can apply for Certificate of Lawfulness after four years of continuous use." Ufuk Bahar

To date, we have prepared, submitted and managed hundreds of planning permission applications, and have successfully maintained a 100% success rate with Certificate of Lawfulness applications!

If you are serious about taking advantage of the Four Year Rule (or 10 Year Rule), send us an email now to request your FREE quote.

 

How Can I Make a 4 Year Rule Application?

Let’s jump right in…

In order to establish the use, your architects or planners need to provide your council with sufficient factual information for them to consider your application. Your agents should prove the continued uninterrupted use of your dwelling as separate self-contained flats for four years. Potential evidence includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Tenancy agreements for the last 4 years;
  • Electoral Roll evidence of current and previous tenants;
  • Council tax bills for the last 4 years;
  • Electricity, water and gas bills for the last 4 years;
  • Title Register;
  • Any vehicle registration documents;
  • Any dated photos indicating the previous use of the site or buildings;
  • Any sworn affidavits from people with personal knowledge of the existing use or works carried out and;
  • Any additional maintenance bills (i.e. builder bills, appliance bills, community charge bills and etc.).


A word of caution: These examples are meant to give an idea of the documents required but the list is NOT exhaustive.

Trust us. It’s more complicated than it sounds. For this reason, your architects or planners need to provide sufficient factual information to demonstrate that the use in question has continued at the same level of intensity, and for the same purpose, for the period of these four consecutive years. All you have to do is to appoint an architect or planner who has a proven track record with the four year rule.

 

How Can We Help You?

To date, we have prepared, submitted and managed hundreds of planning permission applications, and have successfully maintained a 100% success rate with Certificate of Lawfulness applications!

If you are serious about taking advantage of the Four Year Rule (or 10 Year Rule), contact us now.

We will help you make a list of all the things you need and guide you through the Certificate of Lawfulness application for ‘Four Year rule’ process. In the end, that’s all you'll need.

Feasibility - starting from £570

Feasibility Assessment for Certificate of Lawfulness for Existing Use (The 4 Year Rule) REQUEST YOUR FREE QUOTE

  • Reviewing the Documents to assess whether you can provide sufficient factual information
  • Reviewing the Documents to evaluate whether you qualify for Certificate of Lawfulness for Existing Use (The 4 Year Rule)

 

Certificate of Lawfulness Application  -starting from £3,325

Application for Certificate of Lawfulness for Existing Use (The 4 Year Rule)

REQUEST YOUR FREE QUOTE

  • Dedicated Project Manager
  • Dedicated RIBA Architect / Senior Planner
  • Providing Professional Advice on Supporting Documents
  • Formulating your Planning Strategy to obtain Certificate of Lawfulness
  • Carrying out Measured Site Survey
  • Preparing Full set of Planning Drawings
  • Preparing Design & Access Statement Report
  • Duly Completing your Application Form
  • Submitting, Managing and Monitoring your Application
  • Liaising with your Council on your behalf

 
How can Urbanist Architecture help you?


The Bottom Line

 

By now you’ll have realised that you will need to prove that there is a clear history of the function of the property being used in excess of four years. If you want to establish the lawfulness of your property and obtain immunity from enforcement action, it is important that you seek professional advice when applying for Certificate of Lawfulness.

Don’t risk your application being turned down, and come and speak to us today!


Certificate of Lawfulness Application secured by Urbanist Architecture for 9 self-contained flats

 


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