The creation of new houses or flats without panning permission is lawful after a period of 4 years of continuous occupation. This is known as the 4 year rule.
In this case, two adjoining houses had been converted into a total of 8 flats many years ago and rented out to tenants ever since.
Our client had applied to the council for a certificate of lawfulness (also known as a lawful development certificate) to confirm that the change of use was now lawful through the passage of time, but the council refused it, arguing that not enough evidence had been presented to prove the four years.
We worked with the client to firm up the evidence and submitted an appeal against the council’s decision. We showed that, on the balance of probabilities, the building had been in use as 4 flats for a continuous period of at least 4 years.
Our planning consultants have a great deal of experience with applications and appeals under the 4 and 10 year rules, and we have had some other recent successes of this kind.