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Whose business is it when you paint the exterior of your house?

We have had several clients over the years raise the question as to whether you need permission to paint the outside of their house.

The answer to this is that it depends on the property.  Planning rules known as permitted development rights allow defined categories of development to take place without the requirement of planning permission.  These including painting the outside of a building, so planning permission is not required even if one lives in a conservation area.  However, if the house is a listed building, although one doesn’t need planning permission to paint it one has to get listed building planning consent if the painting would affect the character as a building of special architectural and historic interest.  Even if you only intend to paint the front door.  Undertaking those works without listed building consent is a criminal offence and could result in a fine or even imprisonment n exceptional cases.

However if it isn’t listed it doesn’t always mean you can do what you like with it.  As reported in the press last year, a resident in West London painted her house in bold red and white stripes.  However, she fell foul of other planning powers and was ordered to restore the property to an appropriate condition.  section 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 gives local planning authorities powers to serve notices requiring owners or occupiers to remedy the condition of the property if the authority thinks it adversely affects the amenity of the area.  As the owner of the property you have a right of appeal but if a court decides that your paint scheme affects the amenity of the area one would need to comply and if you didn’t this would be a criminal offence.