Top 10 facts about listed properties

6 Mar

There are in the region of 373,000 listed buildings in the UK and many are oozing with their own charm and quirky features. Although many people love the idea of living in a listed building, they’re sometimes put off by the thought of dealing with it (thanks to horror stories about people trying to do alterations and not being allowed to do the work) and the extra paperwork and implications involved. If you’re wondering about the reality of coping with a listed building, then here are the facts!

1. When a building is called listed it means it’s regarded as being of special historic or architectural interest and is on a national register. The listing protects the whole of the building – outside and inside, plus surrounding areas – and any owner has a duty to keep the building in good repair.

2. As an owner of a listed building, you have to contact the conservation officer at your local district council if you ever wish to alter, extend, change or demolish any part of your building in a way that might affect the character or setting. You need to gain Listed Building Consent from the council – similar to planning permission, but no fees involved – before you can start any work.

3. Alterations or changes that require Listed Building Consent include: changing the roofing material, removing internal walls, changing fireplaces or staircases, changing windows, painting over brickwork, putting up aerials or satellite dishes, and removing external surfaces.

4. It takes about eight weeks for the results of applications for Listed Building Consent to be considered and decided upon. If your proposal is turned down, you will have six months in which to make an appeal.

5. If you go ahead and alter a listed building without first gaining consent, then it is regarded as a criminal offence and you could be fined or even imprisoned. The council will also insist the property is returned to how it was.

6. If you’re buying a listed property, you need to ensure that any previous work carried out has been authorised. If it hasn’t, you could be held responsible – even though you had nothing to do with it – as you will inherit the problems.

7. In England and Wales, the authority for listing is granted by the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 and administered by English Heritage. In Wales and Scotland there are different organisations involved, namely CADW in Wales and Historic Scotland in Scotland.

8. A limited number of grants are available from local conservation officers to help with repair and upkeep on listed buildings.

9. Statistics indicate that 92% of all listed buildings are grade II listed (of special interest), 5.5% are grade II* (particularly important buildings) and 2.5% are grade I listed (exceptionally important buildings). 38% of all listed buildings are used as domestic dwellings.

10. The older and rarer a building, the more likely it is to be listed. Properties built before 1700 and which have survived well, are very likely to be listed and any properties built before 1840 may well make the listed grade. It’s not just older properties though – some exceptional modern buildings built after 1945 are known to have listed status too. In addition to age, buildings that are of particular architectural interest or associated with key events or historical figures may have a listed status too.

To find listed property for sale, head over and search on (typing ‘listed’ into the keyword search field).

2 Responses to “Top 10 facts about listed properties”

  1. Hayley Bell April 4, 2010 at 8:40 pm #

    Excellent post. Just stumbled across an excellent site with UK government documents on it – is a really well built site and them seem to be very up to date – always posting the latest UK government documents released to the public. Worth a look.


  1. Keyword search of the week: Converted chapels | Prime UK - July 7, 2009

    […] want to convert a chapel yourself, then you need to be aware of the potential issues surrounding listed buildings. Many chapels have of course already been converted – often into truly stunning homes – and […]

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