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What is a lawful development certificate?

What is a lawful development certificate?

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The lawful development certificate (LDC) is a legal document that states that work you’ve done on your house in the past, or are planning to do, doesn’t need planning permission.

If you believe your proposed building project is allowable under permitted development but would like to be certain about it, then a lawful development certificate will give you peace of mind.

Alternatively, if you've already made alterations to your home, broken a condition of planning permission or carried out work on your land, in time the council may no longer be able to take action due to rolling time limits introduced in the Planning and Compensation Act 1991.

Therefore an LDC may help you sell your home, raise the finance to buy it or convince you as a buyer that you’ll be able to carry out the work once you buy the property or land.

Past building work

For development work that has been done to your home in the past, you need to prove, in the form of things like invoices and dated photos:

  • That the building work was 'substantially complete' more than four years before the date of application.

  • That your home has been used in this way continuously for a period of at least four years.

Statements from yourself and third parties may also help.

How to apply

Be aware that you have to submit adequate information to help your authority make a decision – that means clear plans. Seeking professional advice before you submit is recommended.

You can apply for an LDC through the Planning Portal website

Further information

How do I get a design for my home improvement project

Government guidance on lawful development certificates