What is the 4-year rule?

The 4 Year Rule protects the dwelling owner from any legal actions, made by the Local Planning Authority, against any changes that have been done to the dwelling prior to 4 years. In simple words, if you make any constructional changes to your dwelling (house, flat, or any establishment lying under class C3) without planning permission, and there was no one to raise an issue about it for four years then the Local Planning Authorities cannot take any legal actions against you after 4 years.

If the structure includes all of the necessary facilities for day-to-day domestic life, and it is continuously inhabited for at least four years, its residents are entitled to apply for a Lawful Development Certificate. The certification simply confirms that the standards have been fulfilled; even without the certificate, the dwelling would be lawful as long as the criteria were satisfied.

According to Section 191 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended), if a building or part of it is erected, extended, or constructed without the necessary planning permission and there has been no complaint from any member of the public within 4 years, an application for a lawful development certificate can be made to your local authority (the council).

You can either hire a Planning Consultant company or an Independent Planning Consultant for it. They can help you with many other issues like Warrant for Possession or Appealing to the Inspectorate.

What is the 10-year Rule?

The 10-Year Rule legalizes all alterations on your building (except dwelling) if it has been 10 years and no one has raised any issue with that. Unlike the 4 year rule which only applies to dwellings, the 10-year rule only applies to a building that comes under class C4.

According to Section 191 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended), the following are the factors that are considered to decide if a building comes under class C4.

  • It is not used for religious purposes, educational purposes, or public entertainment (such as cinemas)
  • It does not contain more than 2 dwelling units.
  • The number of employees is less than ten and, in any event, it has no sleeping accommodation for these employees.
  • There is incidental storage space only; this may either be wholly above ground level or wholly below ground level but it must be ancillary to other uses on the premises (storage areas that are detached from the main premises would come under class B8.)

Once you apply either rule, based on your building standards, to any alteration that is a direct breach of the Planning Permission, it is considered lawful as soon as either rule applies. Once a project becomes lawful, you can apply for a Certificate of Lawful Existing Use or Development under Section 191 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended).

This is especially crucial if you’re attempting to sell a property, use it as collateral for a loan or mortgage, or verify the legality of its land use. The value of the property is generally linked to the ‘legal’ land usage, and the only way to ‘prove’ its legality is by requesting a Certificate of Lawfulness.


How much does a planning consultant cost?

Costing primarily depends on the scale of your project. From Design Permission to Just consultation, Prices varies from consultant to consultant. But the average would be around £450.

Are planning consultants worth it?

Yes, absolutely they are worth every penny of yours. In fact, the whole planning process, if not done correctly, can delay the whole project by years. A Planning Consultants can navigate you through every legal process and get you out of any planning-related issues.

What is the role of a planning consultant?

The role of a Planning Consultant will get you out of any situation that you are stuck in at the beginning or during your building project. If your project leads to multiple intricacies to get planning permission and you have to interpret Planning Policy and Local Development Plans, a Planning Consultant on your side will only make this whole Planning Process smoother than ever and you will be reassured with the results as well.

How do I choose a planning consultant?

Choosing the best planning consultant for your project is very easy when you follow our steps.

What do town planning consultants do?

Planning Consultants help, supervise, and advise you with every planning related issues that you might face at any stage of your construction project. They will help you acquire the planning permission and/or in case of application rejection, they will help you to appeal for the permission.