Many older homeowners turn to equity release as a way to fund home improvements, whether they are extending their home, improving it for at-home care or simply because repairs are needed.
Equity release enables homeowners aged 55 or over to unlock some of their property wealth without having to downsize. Rather than repaying what you owe each month, interest rolls up over time and is usually repaid, along with the lump sum released, either when you die, or when you move into long-term care.
According to equity release provide Responsible Equity Release, 23% of people who released equity last year put some or all of the proceeds towards home improvements.
If you are considering using equity release to fund an extension or any other kind of home improvements, understand the different types of equity release mortgage available and always seek professional advice, as this type of scheme won’t be suitable for everyone. You’ll also have to check whether the home improvements you’re planning to undertake need planning permission or building regulations approval. Here’s what you need to know.
When it comes to home extensions size matter
If you’re releasing equity to fund a home extension, whether or not you’ll need planning permission often depends on what size your extension is going to be. Extensions are usually considered ‘permitted developments’, which means you don’t need to apply for planning permission, as long as they conform to various conditions.
For example, you shouldn’t need planning permission as long no part of the extension is going to be higher than the highest part of the roof of the property, or if it isn’t going to extend beyond any wall facing a road if it forms the principal or side elevation of the original house.
Bear in mind that you’ll have to abide by other limits too. For example, the extension can’t cover more than half the area of land around the original house.
Single storey extensions
If your extension is only going to be one storey high, you shouldn’t need planning permission provided it doesn’t go beyond the rear wall of the original house by more than three metres if your property is attached to another, or by four metres if your home is detached.
You also won’t need planning permission if your extension has a maximum height of four metres and its width is no more than half that of the original house.
Building regulations approval
Even though you might not need to apply for planning permission to build an extension, you must comply with building regulations. This means that the building works must meet certain technical and safety requirements. Your builder will usually be responsible for ensuring any work conforms building regulations, but make sure that they will definitely do this before work commences.
You don’t usually need building regulations approval for minor building works, such as most repairs and maintenance work, or if you’re fitting like-for-like replacements of baths, toilets, basins and sinks.
Always check the rules
If you’re in any doubt about whether your extension will meet planning regulations, check with your local planning authority. Remember too that if you live in a conservation area, or if home is listed, different planning restrictions will apply. You can find out more information about planning permission and building regulations and apply for them online at www.planningportal.co.uk.
Use our equity release calculator to see if you could free up cash within your property to make the improvements needed to transform your home this year
The above article was created for Telegraph Financial Solutions, a member of The Telegraph Media Group. For more information on Telegraph Financial Solutions click here.