Renting a Listed Building: A Landlord’s GuideWritten By PropertyLoop September 17, 2021
Listed properties present some of the most historically significant, and beautiful buildings the nation has to offer. Typically, these architectural marvels and stunning timepieces will have been granted listed status thanks to their age, scarcity or composition, with all buildings erected before 1700 achieving this status. For the most part buildings built between 1700 and 1840 have largely been afforded the same protectionary measures, with more recently completed buildings beings rarely listed.
Properties that are granted this listed status are subject to a hierarchy, seeing them be graded. Over 30% of all listed properties are Grade II, meaning that they are of special interest. This leaves the 5.8% of Grade II* properties that are considered to be of increased significance, with the remaining Grade I properties that are found to be of exceptional interest, only comprising 2.5% of all listed buildings.
Maintaining a Rented Listed Property
As can be expected with many listed properties that are of a considerable age, maintenance must be regular to ensure that damp, mould, draughts and structural issues don’t arise; alongside minimising the risk of having to undertake any major repairs or refurbishment works later down the line.
Providing that the owner is making minor repairs, or alterations that are identical to the original state or condition of the affected area, then there will be no need to submit an application for listed building consent. With this being said, in many instances the required repairs will likely later the appearance or original state of the property, legally obligating the landlord to first obtain listed building consent from the local authority before proceeding with the necessary works.
This permission extends to many aspects of the property, encompassing any changes to the windows, doors, fireplaces and plasterwork, all demanding that the landlord seeks the appropriate consent before remedial works are carried out.
However, it is possible for owners to carry out emergency repair works on the property, absolving them of their duty to obtain the necessary permissions. But if the appropriate work is conducted the owner must be able to demonstrate that the steps taken were urgently needed to resolve a significant risk to safety, or the preservation of the listed property. Further to this the owner must be able to show that only the most urgently needed steps were taken, keeping changes to a minimum, whilst providing notice to the council as soon as possible.
It is imperative that before any alterations or repairs are made to the rental that the landlord first seeks the necessary permissions as failure to do so can result in the landlords being handed a six-month prison sentence and a fine of up to £20,000. However, if the case is presented to the high court the repercussions are more severe, potentially seeing the landlord face2 years in prison and an unlimited fine.
Do You Need an EPC to Rent a Listed Building?
Typically, before a landlord is able to present their rental opportunity to the market, they must first obtain a valid energy performance certificate. This documentation essentially shows how energy efficient the property is, whilst suggesting amends to the owner that would increase its EPC rating and in turn reduce running costs for the tenants.
However, the owner must keep in mind that unlike other properties, when planning to make any alterations to the structure, or interior of a listed property, in many cases they must first gain permission from the local authority.
With this being said there is often a misconception surrounding if a listed property requires an EPC or is exempt. Whilst we are sure that many rental owners would be relieved to not have to ensure that their property meets these legal requirements, listed properties still must comply with all EPC regulations, but there is a caveat.
Although some listed rentals may still require an EPC, in some cases they can be exempt from meeting the minimum energy efficiency standards. These exemptions from the EPC regulations will exclusively apply, “insofar as compliance with certain minimum energy performance requirements would unacceptably alter their character or appearance.” Simply put, the landlord is exempt from making alterations to the rental that will increase the energy efficiency of the rental, if these changes will substantially change the aesthetics of the building.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government have suggested that if a landlord is unsure if their property will be “unacceptably altered” by the suggested energy efficiency improvements, or what the unique, protected characteristics of their property is, they should get in touch with their local council’s conservation officers who will be able to provide clarity on the matter.
Grants for Listed Buildings
It is possible for owners to obtain a grant towards the repair and preservation of their listed property. However, these are exceptionally rare and will often prioritise buildings of historical importance that without the grant will be unable to conduct the necessary works. Once an application for a grant has been made a verdict on whether the funds will be provided can often take well over six months during which time the scheme will evaluate the amount of work that must be carried out, the appropriate method of conducting the repairs and the amount of funding needed to restore the building
Council Tax on Listed Buildings
The amount of council tax the owner of the listed property will be required to pay will be determined by the results of a property valuation. This will largely be the same as when a valuation is conducted for any other rental property. However, any restriction of the alterations and the associated costs of maintenance will be considered in the valuation.
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