Granny Flat Rentention

Discussion in 'Sites, planning, self-builds and extensions' started by marti9t9, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. marti9t9

    marti9t9 New Member

    Posts:
    6
    Ok, so I've searched for similiar questions about granny flat rentention but my problem seems unique so creating my own thread.
    I rented a house for 2 years when the landlord offered to sell it to us. We agreed a price and purchased in 2014.
    There is a detached garage which was built with the house in the 1950's in a small estate. The previous owner intended converting the garage to a granny flat and had about 90% of the work complete when we moved in. Bathroom, electrics, flooring, insulation and plumbing were all completed by previous owner. They had even replaced the garage door with a large window and put in a side entrance. We bought the house knowing there was no pp for the work so it was sold to us as a garage which was fine with us at the time.
    We recently put a kitchen in when my sister was stuck for somewhere to live so it is perfectly habitable right now. We would love to make it legal and are wondering now what the chances are of it being granted rentention for change of use as a dwelling? I don't believe it falls under any of the exceptions that I've read about. I'm realistic about it being refused but if it is, will I be required to 'change it back' to a garage and install a garage door again. Any advise would be much appreciated.
    Martin.
     
  2. Brendan Burgess

    Brendan Burgess Founder

    Posts:
    34,834
    Are any of your neighbours objecting?

    If not, maybe it's best to leave it as it is.

    By applying, you may well attract an objection or a refusal.

    If you do not apply for permission now and subsequently someone objects, then you can apply for retention then.

    Brendan
     
    galwaypat likes this.
  3. Leo

    Leo Moderator

    Posts:
    8,920
    Covered here a few times over the years, including this, this, & this...

    You will need to seek planning permission to regularise it as the creation of stand alone units or granny flats does not fall under exempted development.

    Approval is straightforward provided you can demonstrate a need to accommodate direct family in the unit, but there may be a requirement that the unit be directly connected to the main dwelling. There will however be conditions attached that will state that at no time can you collect rent on the unit or have it occupied by anyone other than a direct relative, and once the relative no longer has a need for the accommodation, the flat should be reverted back into the primary dwelling.

    If you do not have a need to house family on compasionate grounds, then it is very unlikely that you will be granted permission unless the unit and space on your plot allows you to split the folio into two separate dwellings.

    As Brendan says, unless someone complains, you'll likely get away with it for as long as you own the property. Self-converted 1950's garages rarely comply with building or fire regulations, so there's the potential for problems in the event of a fire, having a a self-contained unit within the property is a material change that your insurance company would need to be notified of. Attempting to rent the unit out could lead to you being reported to the PRTB if the unit fails to meet the minimum requirements. See here for more.

    When it comes to selling, you may need to remove the unit or apply for retention. Banks are now a lot more particular about planning compliance when issuing mortgages.
     
  4. elcato

    elcato Moderator

    Posts:
    2,782
    Give them a few years and this may well be out the window again.
     
  5. marti9t9

    marti9t9 New Member

    Posts:
    6
    Thanks to whoever moved the thread.

    Brendan, no one is objecting and I agree about not wanting to inadvertently attract attention from the Council if I thought my case was hopeless. Hence, testing the water here.

    Leo, thank you for covering so many angles. You have basically persuaded me to leave it as is.

    The only reason to get the retention would be to for the possibility of letting it out after my sister no longer needs it OR when it comes to selling it.

    Could you clarify two points for me? You say 'reverted back into the primary dwelling' and 'you may need to remove the unit'. What does this mean in practical terms? Ripping out the kitchen, removing the bed?

    When it comes to selling the house, I know it can only be advertised as a garage BUT when a viewer comes to see it, couldn't we make the case that it's just a shiny garage that happens to have a fridge? :)
     
  6. Leo

    Leo Moderator

    Posts:
    8,920
    Getting the permission required to do that is unlikely unless the unit can be completely separated in terms of all services, and can comply with all building regs. Look at where permission has been granted for houses in infill or corner garden sites for the types of conditions that attach, such as this example.

    Anywhere I have seen permission granted for a granny flat, it was in situations where the applicant provided a declaration that they needed the unit for a family member such as an elderly parent. In these cases conditions were attached to the planning that stated the unit must only ever be occupied by family members, could never be rented, and as soon as the family member no longer needed it, the unit had to be incorporated back into the main house, essentially removing the unit.
     
  7. marti9t9

    marti9t9 New Member

    Posts:
    6
    Thank you again, but what has to be done to prove to the planners that the 'unit has been removed'? What's the physical evidence?
     
  8. Leo

    Leo Moderator

    Posts:
    8,920
    In your case, they would inspect that the garage is returned to use as a garage and all traces of fittings such as kitchens, room partitions and the like have been removed.
     
  9. marti9t9

    marti9t9 New Member

    Posts:
    6
    That's what I feared. A rule that makes you effectively destroy a perfectly good space just makes no sense to me. I understand they don't want people to build shacks and stick 15 people in there. But one rule is a bit blunt. Anyway we'll close this case. I appreciate your time and advise.
     
  10. Leo

    Leo Moderator

    Posts:
    8,920
    The rules are there so that spaces used as dwellings conform to the minimum standards required for habitable spaces, failure to meet those standards can result in a threat to the lives of those occupying them at times. Look at the backlash against the likes of Priory Hall or Grenfell tower, the multiple carbon monoxide deaths across Ireland each year, a converted garage is likely to pose similar risks albeit on a much smaller scale.

    If your structure and the site can conform to the minimum requirements, then there is usually no problem getting the required planning permission, particularly as they are allowing increased density in many areas.