Garden / granny annexes which may be exempt from planning permission

It is a well-documented fact that we are now sitting on a demographic time bomb. With ever increasing property prices and first time buyers unable to secure a mortgage, people aged between 20-34 are now having to move back into the family home to live with their parents in order to save up for a deposit on a property or because they simply cannot afford anywhere else to rent.

And at the other end of the age spectrum, elderly relatives are moving into their children’s homes as they don’t fancy the options available to them e.g. care home, at home care or a retirement village etc. And state social care is pretty non-existent too.

30m2 External annexe

So inter-generational living is, and will become ever more so, perhaps the only viable solution.

But we all value our own space and independence whatever your age and without doubt everyone co-habitating under the same roof – with different needs and wants – will apply undue pressure to the stress buttons shall we say!

Garden annexe solution

But a granny annexe or a garden annexe can provide the perfect solution as an ancillary, self-contained independent living and accommodation unit within the curtilage of a private residence. Granny annexes are becoming increasingly popular in this country as a way of caring for elderly relatives but the name granny annexe has been become synonymous with a self-contained garden annexe which is used as ancillary
accommodation to the main house. But these buildings can also be used by the afore-mentioned “boomerang” generation. And don’t forget the other strong trend of renting out a spare room on popular platforms such as AirBnB.

In the majority of cases, planning permission will need to be granted for these type of buildings but due to the fact that the granny annexes from the Hideout House Company are built to conform to the legal definition of a mobile home or caravan (based on their size, mobility and construction method), in the majority of cases planning permission will not be required.

However we do recommend that you (or we on your behalf) obtain a Certificate of Lawful Development for peace of mind. Essentially this is similar to planning but you don’t have to submit plans and it confirms that the building is a permitted development by your local planning authority. You should be able to get this form and/or apply online from the planning portal website.

annexe with decking

Certificate of Lawful Development conditions

There are also some conditions which are attached to the above:

The granny annexe must be sited within the curtilage of the main dwelling house – generally this is confined to a small area about a building or a house i.e. garden or drive and not an adjoining paddock for example. There has to be an intimate association with the land

The granny annexe must also be used for a purpose “incidental to the enjoyment of the dwelling house” that is in addition to the use of the house but not as somebody’s separate dwelling

It cannot become somebody’s main residence

There must remain a relationship between the annexe and house so for example, meals could be taken in the house, have full use of house facilities etc

It cannot be rented out as a private residence or separate dwelling or business premises (if you did want to rent it out commercially, you would have to apply for a change of use)

If the use is not considered part of or incidental to the house, then a material change of use may have occurred and planning permission could be required

And there are some other useful advantages to be had – namely these granny annexes do not require building regulation approvals and VAT is only chargeable on soft furnishings and not on the building itself. As it is “mobile”, the building can easily be moved at a later date if you have to move house or simply want to sell it on.