Following on from Part 1 of the Self-Build series, the precarious position for future self-builders should be improved later this year, given the Government’s response to their Developer Contributions consultation. However, the proposed amendments will only come into effect from 1 September 2019, arriving too late to fix the predicament of many existing self-builders.
Therefore, if works have started but deviated from
what was originally approved and a s73 application or new application is made
(instead of a s96a application) but not determined, to try to avoid a CIL
liability under the new permission the self-build should consider and discuss
one or more of the following options with the LPA:
Option 1 – Agree to extend the determination date for the s73 application until after 1 September 2019 when the proposed amendments have taken effect to allow a transfer of the self-build exemption.
Option 2 – Agree that commencement under the original permission does not disqualify the new permission from the self-build exemption.
It is not uncommon for LPAs to claim that
commencement under the original permission constitutes commencement for the
purposes of the new permission and that this disqualifies the new permission
from the self-build exemption. Whether
or not the LPAs position is legally correct depends on how far advanced the
works are under the original permission, as there will need to be a material
operation that could be undertaken as part of the new permission to implement
it. If the LPA can be convinced that that works have not commenced for the
purposes of the new permission and that they are still capable of granting the
self-build exemption for it, the self-builder ought to (as soon as possible and
before the new application is determined):
- submit an application for the self-build exemption;
- cease development under the original permission in advance of the new permission being granted, and not recommence development under the new permission until:
- the self build exemption has been granted; and
- a completed assumption of liability notice and commencement notice is submitted to the LPA for the new permission (noting a future commencement date);
- document their development activities as clearly as possible (i.e. document/photograph when and where the works stopped on site, what works were the material operation under the new permission, obtain written statements from contractors, etc.) so this evidence can be provided to a LPA, if needed to corroborate their position.
Option 3 – If the LPA will not agree that commencement under the original permission does not disqualify the new permission from the self-build exemption
- write to the LPA to ask that
the s73 application be determined as a s73A application, with the self-build
exemption to be granted on the same day as the permission. If this is not
agreed by the LPA or the application is not a s73 application, the application
should be withdrawn and a new application submitted as a s73A application;
- submit an application for the
self-build exemption in advance of the application being granted permission;
- submit with the self-build
exemption application a completed assumption of liability notice and
commencement notice which states that the date of commencement is the date of
the grant of the new permission and the self-build exemption.
All of the options carry large risk and require the
cooperation/‘blessing’ of the LPA. Option 1 is the preferred approach as it
carries the least risk and should be the easiest to secure LPA agreement to.
If a self-builder has made a new application and is
unable to agree one of the above approaches with a LPA, quickly, it should
consider withdrawing its application before it is granted and the potential CIL
liability is crystallised.
Given the Government’s response to the Developer Contributions consultation, it is unlikely that a LPA would seek to take enforcement action where a self-builder withdrew or delayed the making of their s73 application, on the understanding that the self-builder would submit a s73 application as soon as the proposed amendments to the CIL regulations take effect.
The proposed changes to the CIL regulations do not
relate to s73A applications. Therefore, it is critical that the LPA is
comfortable that a s73 and not a s73A application can be used to correct works
deviating on site from what was originally approved. This will be more of an
issue for those s73 applications that are made late in the development process
and there is very little work remaining.
Part 3 and 4 of this Series will address the Government’s response to reforming developer contributions and the changes that will be made to the CIL regulations to help make the self-build exemption process a little easier, fairer and more forgiving in the future.
Until at least 1 September 2019, self-builders need to remain alert to the risks outlined in Parts 1 and 2 of this Self-Build series.