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What is the difference between planning permission and retention permission?

In Ireland when you are selling a property, if any building, conversation or renovation work has been made to the property, the vendor should have either Planning Permission, Retention Permission or a Certification of Exemption for that work.

If this has not been provided, your solicitor will conduct a planning search. This search will look for any planning applications which have been made against the property or indeed any permission of developments nearby which may impact your property in future.

What is Planning Permission?

When the homeowner seeks permission from the local authority to extend, convert or renovate a property. This permission can be approved, in which case the building can proceed or can be declined. If it is declined it can be appealed, or changes to the plans can be made to address the reason for decline and resubmitted.

What is Retention Permission?

Planning Retention or "Retention Permission" is when the homeowner applies to the local council for extension or renovation work which has already taken place. For example, if you convert your attic with a bay widow but never got planning permission, an application for Retention Permission can be submitted.

Just like with Planning Permission, a Retention application can be approved or declined. If it is declined it can be appealed. Otherwise, to avoid any legal issues, work may be required to the property to return it to its original state or to a state that has been approved.

What is a Certificate of Exemption?

A certificate of exemption, aka" Opinion on Compliance for Exempt Development", can be produced for building or renovation work which has been completed but does not require planning permission.

An example of this could be a garage converted into a kitchen. In most cases, once the structure of the building has not been changed and the kitchen meets all building regulations, it would be exempt from planning.

If work is exempt from planning a Certificate of Exemption can be produced by an architect or other

What if a property does not have Permission?

If work has been done to a property which does not have planning permission, your solicitor will advise that either planning retention is applied for by the vendor, or that a certificate of exemption is completed by a qualified person.

Either way, to avoid any legal matter which may arise, it is strongly advised to listen to your solicitors advice.

Can a surveyor check Planning Permission?

Not exactly! A surveyor will not conduct a planning search, however, if your solicitor can provide planning docs, retention permission or a certificate of exemption before the survey takes place, the surveyor can confirm that the work done to the property matches the planning docs.

But it should be noted that this is simply the surveyor's opinion on the current docs and is not a new certificate of exemption.


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