Obtaining planning permission

Obtaining planning permission

When you require planning permission?

If you have decided to buy an old house in need of renovation or restoration you will need planning permission. Modernization of an old building usually involves making external alterations like building an extension or installing larger windows or new doorways which requires obtaining permission. It may be taken from your local town hall and a building license.

Planning regulations may be decided by a commune, province or region. It may be difficult or even impossible to obtain permission if the property is in historic town or village or an area of great natural beauty.


Restoration must be carried out with local materials and in the traditional style. In some regions planning regulations are strictly enforced to maintain the beauty of the countryside. You may not be able to change windows, doors, colour of the exterior walls or build garden walls. So, it is vital to know exactly what you can and can’t do before buying a property for restoration.

It is recommended to obtain planning permission in advance or even before buying property for restoration. If this is not possible you should include a conditional clause in the preliminary contract stating that the purchase is contingent on obtaining planning permission. The property may already have it, although you should check the period of validity and whether it can be changed or extended if necessary.

If you are planning to convert property classed as ‘rural’ in the Land Registry into an apartment, you cannot do so until the property’s usage is changed from ‘rural’ to ‘urban’. The change should be requested of the local authority and accompanied by detailed plans of all proposed changes.

How long it takes to obtain planning permission?

Planning permission usually takes about three weeks for a simple job and a minimum of two months for anything complex. It is wise to obtain the permission before demolishing buildings on your land as you may be able to sell the building materials or get a builder to demolish them free in exchange for the materials.

After restoration is completed, a certificate is required to confirm that building work has been carried out according to the planning application.

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