5 Top Tips for Listed Property Owners
If you own or are considering buying, a listed property, it’s likely that you’ll have questions about what you can and can’t do to it. Thankfully, help is always at hand! Our Home Insurance team has more than 30 years of experience working with homeowners like you and can help with your queries.
In this article, the team shares its top tips for listed property owners, exploring the different listing grades, restrictions and the responsibilities of ownership.
1. Understand your property listing
A building that is of special historic (very old) or architectural (unusual building materials or style) interest might well be ‘listed’ or have a ‘listing’. Knowing the obligations any listing puts upon you as a potential owner is vital.
As to restrictions around changes and updates, there are no hard and fast rules; each case needs individual attention.
The different grades in the UK are:
England and Wales:
Grade I – of exceptional interest (2.5% of listed properties).
Grade II – of special interest (91.7%).
Grade II* – particularly important and of more than just special interest (5.8%).
Category A – the highest listed building ranking, normally buildings of national importance (7%).
Category B – of more regional importance (50%).
Category C – locally important buildings (43%).
2. Is my property listed?
Check The National Heritage List for England (NHLE) online to find listed properties if you’re unsure. It’s easy and free.
The property you live in will have been standing for many years and preserving it for future generations is part of the duty of ownership. In many respects, you are a custodian of the property, as much as its owner. And with that comes a responsibility to protect its cultural and historical value. As such, you may find that you may not be able to make big changes to the property, which can be frustrating if you don’t view yourself as a custodian.
3. Engage with your local conservation officer
Being listed does not necessarily mean no changes are ever allowed. While there may be lots of things you can’t do to the appearance or interior of your property, there are still many you can. Listed building consent will generally be needed before changes can be made, however.
Your local authority will employ a conservation officer (or even a whole team) and be able to give you their details. Get to know them. You can get expert advice on planning and applications from conservation officers and work together to achieve the best outcome.
4. Pick an insurance specialist who understands the needs of listed property owners
The obligations placed upon listed property owners mean that arranging the right insurance is critically important. Because listed buildings tend to be older, unusual and more expensive, repairs and rebuilding may take longer, be more complicated and/or cost more, meaning the risk of underinsurance is greater.
Choosing an independent insurance broker or insurer that understands those requirements is essential. Here at One Broker, we can help by putting you in touch with specialist surveyors to start the process. We can even arrange cover for listed holiday homes.
5. Undertake regular inspections of your listed property – in all conditions
Older buildings need more care and attention than new properties, so formulating a maintenance action plan is a great start. By undertaking regular maintenance, especially pre-emptive work, you can preserve the condition of a listed building for longer and be more cost-effective too. Don’t overlook outhouses, perimeter walls or other structures.
Check roofs, gutters and drains to avoid damp issues. It's particularly useful to do this when it’s raining to see that everything’s working satisfactorily. Inspect for damage after storms or extreme weather. Tackle small problems yourself without delay but, if this isn’t possible, get a professional in. Otherwise, schedule maintenance inspections at periodic intervals, putting monthly, yearly, biennially checks in your diary.
If necessary, seek a full condition survey from a professional: valuation, homebuyer or building survey. The latter will normally be undertaken by an independent architect or specialist surveyor with some knowledge of older buildings. They can advise on action to be taken.
Speak to us about Listed Property Insurance Today
Our experienced team can answer your questions about insurance for listed and heritage homes, ensuring your property is protected for generations to come. Call us on 01223 792290 to find out more.
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