If you’ve got an elderly relative, such as a parent, thinking about their care needs or wondering if they are safe can be worrying. If you don’t live close by, this can make worries worse, knowing that you can’t get to them quickly if you were needed in an emergency. What to do though? With rising care costs making care seem unaffordable, the worries soon mount up and you can find yourself becoming increasingly concerned about the future.
These worries mean many families are turning to building granny annexes in their own back gardens, so that can have relatives living close by but still retaining a bit of independence. It has become an increasingly popular option for families over the past ten years.
So, if building a granny annexe is something you have considered you may well now be thinking about the legal considerations and want you to need to think about before contacting a granny annexe provider. Here are some key points you should consider first.
A building with planning permission is a disaster waiting to happen – you might get away with it for years before you are suddenly told that the building must come down. That is why it’s important to get planning right, the first time around.
A separate self-contained annexe in your garden is likely to need an application for full planning permission from your Local Planning Authority. This is usually achieved by either a ‘householder application’ or The Caravan Act.
Planning can be a complex matter and thinking about it might even put you off building an annexe. Look for a supplier who includes planning permission as part of your development.
Here at iHUS, our planning permission service is automatically included. Our in-house planning specialist will apply for planning permission and liaise with the relevant authorities on your behalf. You can read more about our planning service here.
Are There Any Other Permissions Needed?
In addition to planning permission, there may be other legal requirements that you need to comply with. It is important to check the title deeds of your home for any clauses.
For example, your title deeds may contain restrictions which mean that any new building work would require the consent of an adjoining landowner or another third party. Although it is likely that you would be aware of this it’s a good idea to double-check.
If your home is leasehold, then it’s highly likely that you will need your landlords’ consent before any work begins. Also, you may need your lender’s consent if your home is still subject to a mortgage.
Building a new granny annexe on your property shouldn’t make you liable for stamp duty land tax in most circumstances. However, if you sell the property in the future, stamp duty land tax will apply and could affect how desirable your property is to potential buyers.
Before starting your building project, you should also consider the potential impact it may have on liability for capital gains and inheritance tax. Tax laws in this area are very complex so it is vital that you speak to a family solicitor and financial advisor before any firm decisions are made.
Consider who will own your annexe. Joint ownership is most common because it seems to be the fairest option – especially if both parties made a financial contribution. You must consider what will happen if the annexe occupant dies – they will be entitled to pass their share of ownership to whoever they like, this will usually be in their will. In all likeliness, you will agree beforehand that the benefactor will be you, but it is worth double-checking what your parent has in mind.
Finally, and one of the biggest areas to consider is how you will finance your annexe.
You or your parents might have savings that will finance the build but in a lot of cases, money is usually borrowed to build an annexe.
Whether you borrow the money, or it comes from savings, if finances are being combined between family members then you should all be clear on the financial arrangement and its implications. Again, this is something you should discuss with your family solicitor, who can offer their best advice and produce a written agreement which reflects everyone’s intentions.
iHUS Granny Annexes
for more advice on building a granny annexe and the legal considerations please get in touch.