Buying a listed building in West Sussex - should you take the risk?

The prospect of owning a listed property is an enticing one. The reality can, however, be something of a nightmare. If you are thinking of buying a listed building in West Sussex, here are the things to be aware of.

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Listed house West Sussex

What are the issues with Listed Building ownership?

Before you do anything else, find out what designation of listing the property you intend to buy is. This will help define what you will need to preserve and maintain.

Grade I

Grade I are buildings of exceptional interest. Approximately 3% of listed properties are Grade I.

Grade II*

Grade II* buildings are particularly important and of more than special interest. Approximately 6% of listed properties are Grade II*.

Grade II

Grade II are buildings that are of special interest, warranting every effort to preserve them. Approximately 91% of listed properties are Grade II.

What restrictions will I need to be aware of?

Listed building restrictions are in place to preserve a property's historic or architectural interest. These building controls prevent alterations without consent (such as the addition of a Velux window) to the listed fabric of the building.

Typical examples of listed parts can range from casement windows to roofs.

Can I make alterations to a listed building

If you intend to buy a listed building, any external or internal alterations to the property, that affect its character, must have received building regulations and listed building consent from the relevant local authority.

What if the seller has made modifications already?

Failing to secure listed building consent for modifications is an offence, and the obligation for making sure all consents have been granted is transferred from the seller to the new owner.

What obligations must the buyer fulfil?

As the owner of a listed building in West Sussex, you will need to ensure the house remains in good condition

The local authority can take formal action should you fail to maintain the property and permit it to decay, resulting in a compulsory purchase of the property.

Repairs and upkeep must usually be undertaken in a like for like manner, for example lime mortar.

Find listed buildings in West Sussex

Approximately half a million listed properties exist across the country, 1,834 of which are in Horsham District Council.

Listed buildings in and near to West Sussex include:

  • Upton Farm House, Upper Brighton Road, Sompting, Adur, West Sussex
  • Southwick Community Centre, 24 Southwick Street, Southwick, Shoreham By Sea, Adur, West Sussex
  • Hollies, 25 Cokeham Lane, Sompting, Upper Cokeham, Adur, West Sussex
  • The Amsterdam, 469 And 471 Upper Shoreham Road, Old Shoreham, Shoreham By Sea, Adur, West Sussex
  • 53 Southdown Road, Old Shoreham, Shoreham By Sea, Adur, West Sussex

Complete listings can be found on the Historic England website database

How can Quittance help?

If you are buying, selling, remortgaging or transferring equity in a home, our conveyancing solicitors can help.

Our conveyancing service aims to deliver a stress-free moving experience. In particular we focus on proactive communication as this can help drive a purchase or sale forwards to speedy completion.

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Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

About the author

Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.

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