Buying a Listed Property

So you’ve found the home of your dreams but it’s a listed building. Should this put you off buying it?  Buying a Listed Property can mean owning a beautiful home, but you should be aware that it comes with a lot of rules and regulations.

What is a Listed Property?

A listed property is a building that has specific historical or architectural interest. All buildings constructed before 1700 are listed, as are the majority of those built between 1700 and 1840.  Modern buildings can also be listed if they are considered to be of special interest.  Famous examples include the BT Tower, the Royal Festival Hall and the East Stand of Arsenal FC’s former Highbury Stadium.

Listed buildings are recorded on the “National Heritage List for England” register and are protected by law.

There are approximately 500,000 listed buildings in the UK which are categorised as follows:

  • Grade I – this is the highest grade level and means that the property is of “exceptional interest” or national importance. Around 2.5% of listed buildings are Grade I.
  • Grade II* – around 5.5% of listed buildings fall into this category and are deemed to be of more than special interest.
  • Grade II – this is the most common grade with 92% falling under this category.

Renovating a Listed Property

If you have bought or are considering buying a listed property you should be aware that any renovations or alterations will be subject to approval of Listed Building Consent. This can be a lengthy and complicated process as conservation officers will take into consideration the property’s historical significance whilst reviewing your planning applications.  Even with successful planning permission, certain alternations may require the use of specialist materials or craftsmanship to protect the character of the building which can end up being far more expensive than modern methods.  Failure to comply with building consent restrictions could lead to a hefty fine and any alterations undertaken without it are considered a criminal offence.

Problems with Listed Properties

Due to the age and ornate style of many listed buildings, they can be more susceptible to structural problems, damp and other expensive issues. It is highly recommended to have a comprehensive survey conducted should you be thinking of purchasing a listed property as this will highlight any potential problems.  A survey will also check for any unauthorised improvements that may have been carried out by previous owners.  If any are uncovered, you as the new owner will be responsible for returning the property to its original state and at your own expense so it is important to be aware of these before purchasing.

If you are unsure about any maintenance works on your listed property you should always seek advice from an expert rather than attempting to remedy the problem yourself. The most common issues arise as a result of haphazard repairs rather than through any fault with the building itself.

Insuring a Listed Building

Insurance is another important consideration when buying a listed property and you must inform your insurer that your home is listed. Depending on the building type you may require specialist cover.  You should also ensure that you are covered for the rebuild cost of the property rather than its market value to account for any specialist materials and techniques that the rebuild may require.

Help when buying a listed property

The expert conveyancers at Backhouse Solicitors will ensure the purchase progresses as smoothly as possible. Our highly experienced residential property team are here to help and you can obtain an instant online quote or contact us at [email protected]


The Backhouse Solicitors Property Team

Tel:         01245 893400

Email:    [email protected]