STPP. What does it mean? Why do I keep seeing it in the description of properties or land to develop? How does it affect me?
All very good questions which, lucky for you, we have the answers to!
Not only will we reveal the meaning of STPP and ‘potential to extend STPP’, but we’re also going to talk you through what the next stages are and what to do if you build an extension and forget to apply for planning… *oops*
If you’re looking for a specific answer, use this handy menu to help you get there quicker:
- What does STPP mean property?
- What does potential to extend STPP mean?
- What is planning permission?
- What happens if you build an extension without building regs?
What does STPP mean property?
STPP stands for ‘Subject to Planning Permission’ and you will normally see it written on documents which relate to developments or property purchases.
For example, you may see a property on the market, which is just land, but contains images of what the house will look like and contains ‘STPP’ in bold. This means that the property drawings will be what the house will look life if it passes planning permission.
With applying planning permission there’s never a guarantee that you will be able to do what you want to do, until the point of getting planning permission granted.
What does potential to extend STPP mean?
Now you know what STPP means you may have already guessed what ‘potential to extend STPP’ means, but just in case you’re still unsure it means ‘potential to extend subject to planning permission’.
Often you will see houses on the market saying, ‘potential to extend STPP’, meaning the agent has identified the property has the potential for an extension but the buyer would need to get planning permission approved and there’s currently no guarantee of this.
What are the next steps after STPP?
Okay so you see an STPP property, and you really want it, but you don’t know what the next steps are…
Well, all STPP is doing is making you aware you can’t be 100% sure at this stage that you will get planning permission and so the next stage is to apply for planning permission (providing you’ve bought the property).
‘What exactly is planning permission?’ you ask. Good question – that leads us perfectly onto…
What is planning permission?
So now you know STPP means subject to planning permission, you may still be sat there wondering what planning permission actually means… No worries – we’ve got you!
To put it simply, planning permission is basically you going to ask the local authority if they will give you consent to do some building work.
You will need to ask for planning permission when you want to:
- Build something new
- Make a major change to a building, an extension for example
- Change use of the building
Some developments may fall into ‘permitted development’ which will mean you can do improvements, including extensions, without the need to obtain planning permission.
An example of something that won’t be ‘STPP’ is a Juliet balcony. This type of balcony falls under permitted developments and so won’t require any balcony planning permission.
If you’re unsure about whether or not, you’ll need planning permission it’s a good idea to get professional advice from an architect and they will tell you whether or not you will need it and also how to alter your plans to reduce the risk of your planning permission getting rejected.
Can you predict what your planning permission outcome will be?
Although any planning permission application brings risk where you can never be 100% certain, you can get a sense of what will be agreed or denied.
We suggest looking at the local authority’s planning database. It’s free to look at and will generally contain decision notices for each application. A decision notice will explain why the plans have been accepted or rejected, which will be useful when trying to work out what you will be able to get through.
Another good indicator is to look at your neighbours and any work they have had done. This will show you what has previously been allowed and therefore you can use this to assume that’s what would be allowed for you too.
What happens if you build an extension without building regs?
Although it’s not strictly ‘illegal’ to build an extension without planning permission, the local authority could take action against you. After the building is completed, you can apply for retrospective planning but if this gets rejected, you have a long and frustrating process ahead of you.
Having retrospective planning rejected will lead to you needing to pay to alter the property to make it correct, or in some cases, you may have to completely demolish the building.
You may also have to apply for retrospective planning if the building has been built slightly different to what you originally got planning for.
If you were to alter a listed building without planning permission, then this is classed as a criminal offence and will lead to prosecution and heavy fines. In some cases, altering a listed property without planning can lead to imprisonment.
What is the 4-year rule?
The four-year rule refers to whether or not enforcement action be taken out against developments that required planning permission but were carried out without applying.
This rule is seen as a ‘legal loophole’ because if no enforcement action is taken within 4 years of a building’s completion, then the building becomes ‘immune’ from enforcement action, meaning the property is now lawful. Although this is a sort of loophole, if you’re asking us, it’s not worth taking the risk – just apply for planning!
And there you have it – just like that you’re now a pro on what STPP means, what the next steps are AND all things retrospective planning! Do you have any experience with STPP and want to give us some insight? Or maybe you enjoyed this article and want to write one yourself? Whatever it is, don’t hesitate to get in touch today!