This page provides information regarding the mechanisms in place to help protect residents from unlawful planning and building development.
The vast majority of changes to land and property in Guernsey are carried out with the correct planning permissions and building regulation licences in place but property altered without the correct permissions, in addition to being unlawful and potentially unsafe, can create problems when the property is sold on.
Example: A house is advertised and sold with bedrooms in the roof space. The new owners would like to further alter and extend the property. However, when planning permission is sought, it becomes apparent that no approval has been granted for the loft conversion, which contravenes several Building Control and fire safety requirements. In order to rectify these problems, it costs the owner a considerable sum of money which was not anticipated when they purchased the property.
It should be noted that not all works require planning permission.
Practice note 7 - buying and selling of property [267kb] provides further guidance on both Property Searches and Immunity Certificates.
- Property Searches provide prospective purchasers with information on the planning history and status of residential and commercial property and can identify potentially illegal work.
- Property searches do not need to be carried out by an agent or advocate, but can be requested and paid for by the individual using the application form [419kb]. The owner's permission is needed in order for the search to be carried out, and this can be declared using the owner's declaration form [106kb].
- Scheduling a property search prior to the purchase or lease of a property (including business premises) can identify illegal works carried out to property without planning permission or without a licence under building regulations.
- Searches can include:
- Planning and building control history from 2002
- Planning and building control history from prior to 2002 (accessing archive files as necessary)
- Current 'Use Class' of the property (confirmation of its current authorised use)
- Whether the property is a Protected Building
- Whether the property includes any protected tree or monument
- Whether the property is in a Conservation Area or Site of Special Significance
- Planning History can include:
- Details of planning and other applications
- Decisions on such applications including conditions imposed, appeals made against such decisions and compliance and other enforcement notices served
- Building Control History can include:
- Details of approval or rejection of full plans, including modifications or conditions imposed
- Issuing licences, compliance and other enforcement notices served and issue of completion certificates
- The current fees are:
- Standard domestic search charge of £80.00
- Enhanced domestic search charge of £120.00
- Standard non-domestic search charge of £120.00
- Enhanced non-domestic search charge of £200.00
- Domestic property search appointment (30 minutes) will cost £65.00
- Non-domestic property search (30 minutes) will cost £100.00
- Confirmation of Domestic Curtilage will cost £65.00
- Immunity certificates provide members of the community, looking to purchase a property, with reassurance that action will not be taken against them for a known or suspected breach of planning control.
- They do not act as any form of warranty against illegal development carried out at the site prior to its date of issue.
- To apply for an Immunity Certificate the application form [316kb] should be completed and returned to the Office of the Development & Planning Authority, along with the application fee of £70.00.