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Buying or renting a listed property: what you need to know

Wed 24 July 2019

With half a million listed buildings in England and Wales, many of us recognise the appeal of our chocolate box cottages or grand historic homes, but what about when it comes to buying one? Owning a part of our country’s history can be a real privilege but it doesn’t come without its obstacles. If you are thinking of buying or renting a listed property, here’s what you need to know.

What does each listed category mean?

Grade I: building of outstanding or national architectural or historic interest
Grade II*: Particularly significant buildings of more than local interest
Grade II: Buildings of special historic or architectural interest

You will need local authority consent for changes

If you plan to do work to a listed property, you will need to apply for consent from your local authority. This includes making changes to the internal layout right down to installing a satellite dish. It is important when viewing a listed property to look with a view of embracing every period fireplace, ceiling cornice and sash window rather than imagining improvements as they are unlikely to be easy. 

You will need to take out specialist insurance

As the cost to rebuild a listed building after fire or flood will be significantly more than a non-listed building, you will need to seek specialist insurance. There are plenty of companies that cover listed buildings so do your homework and find the one that’s right for you.

It will cost you more to run and repair

Due to its historic importance, you might need to use specific materials or hire specialist tradespeople to carry out work on your house. On top of this, energy efficiency improvements to keep your running costs down like double glazing might not be permitted.

What to do when you’ve found your dream listed property

Seek specialist advice on damp – as older buildings were often designed to breathe unlike modern day homes, a specialist surveyor will know how to check for damp and spot underlying issues.

Ensure that any previous work has been authorised

This is crucial. If previous owners have carried out work without the necessary consent, you might find yourself liable for correcting their mistakes when the ownership transfers to you.


Still dreaming about a new life in a listed building? Here are a few of our favourites:

1. The Old Glebe, Eggesford, Devon, £1,500,000

2. The Old Vicarage, St Austell, Cornwall, £795,000

3. The Linhay, Axminster, Devon, £795,000

4. The Old Parsonage, Chilthorne Domer, Somerset, £900,000

5. New House Farm, Mosterton, Dorset, £580,000

For more information about buying or renting a listed property, contact your local Stags office today.

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