You wouldn’t usually need planning permission to convert your garage into additional living space, provided that the space won’t be used as a separate dwelling and the works are all internal. These permitted development rights for a garage conversion will only apply where permitted development rights have not been removed (see below).
Converting a garage into a bedroom is a great way to add value to your property. Bedroom design above by Pia, architectural designer from South Bucks, South East. See more and shortlist them for your home project here
Do permitted development rights apply to your property?
Be aware that some properties do not benefit from permitted development rights, so it’s unlikely that you’d be able convert your garage without submitting a full planning application. You should check with your Local Planning Authority whether permitted development rights apply to you but in the following cases they usually do not:
- flats and maisonettes
- converted houses or houses created through permitted development rights
- listed buildings or properties in a conservation area
- other protected areas including: national parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Norfolk or Suffolk Broads and World Heritage Sites
Do you need planning permission to convert a garage into an annexe?
If your intention is to convert a garage into a separate dwelling (even if a family member occupies it), then a full planning application may be required. You can seek pre-application advice from your local planning authority if you are unsure about whether or how to apply.
Check conditions of existing applications
You should check existing planning permissions related to your property. There may be a condition attached to an existing planning permission that states that the garage should remain as a parking space. In this case you would either need to submit a new planning application or an application to vary or remove that condition.
If you are the leaseholder of your property, as well as needing planning permission (as leasehold flats or maisonettes do not have permitted development rights) you will also likely need freeholder consent for the garage conversion.
Easements and Covenants
It’s definitely worth checking the deeds to your property, to see if there aren’t any easements or covenants that could restrict your rights to convert your garage. Here is a simple, concise explanation from lawcom.gov.uk:
‘Easements are rights enjoyed by a landowner over another person’s land. A positive easement (such as a right of way) involves a landowner going onto or making use of something in or on a neighbour’s land.
Covenants are a type of contractual promise concerning land, some of which can be enforced against future owners of the land, rather than just against the person who made the promise.’
Party Wall Act
If your garage conversion will affect a wall or structure you share with your neighbour, you will need to comply with the Party Wall Act. In the first instance this involves notifying your neighbour about the work. As with all of the above, your architect will be able to advise on this in more detail.
Do I need building regulations approval for a garage conversion?
If you are converting your garage into a habitable room, Building Regulations approval will usually always be required.
There are a few ways of obtaining detailed Building Regulations approval in our other recent post here but the most common route is to submit a building notice to the council before the work starts. Make sure you consult with your builder and/or architect and agree who will be responsible for this notice.
We’d strongly recommend working with an architect as you will need to be confident that the work will comply with building regulations, otherwise you might have to demolish/re-do any work that does not comply.
If you’d like some help finding the right architect for a garage conversion visit our home page to find out more.
Finding the right designer/builder
Design for Me helps homeowners find the right architect or designer for their project, no matter how big or small. We have residential architects, technologists and interior designers registered with us. Once you’ve posted your project, we’ll send it out to all your best matches in your area to see who’s available and eager to take it on. You can choose up to three for a consultation. There’s no obligation to take it further with anyone, AND it’s completely free!
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