Owning a listed property can be a wonderful privilege. You can look at yourself as being the buildings current custodian and take great pride in that, but when you have the important task of looking after a property that has so many rare or unusual features that sets it apart from other buildings, the responsibilities can become a little overwhelming.

Whatever unique features make your home special will need preserving and protecting. Whether that be a thatched roof, original wooden beams, constructed from rare materials, be of historical importance or is built in a conservation area where you are not allowed to alter or add to your property, it will be your duty to make sure those unique features are well looked after during your ownership.

 How do I know if my property is a listed building?

As a general rule, if your property was built before 1700, then it is highly likely that your building will be listed. This will depend of course of whether or not your property still contains a lot of original features or resembles anything like it’s original construction.

There are hundreds of thousands of buildings that will have been drastically changed over the years and adapted to fit in better with modern living requirements, so if you own an old house that you think should be listed, getting it listed may not be as straight forward as you may think.

Currently, there are just under 500,000 buildings in the UK that are on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. The main things that qualify an old building for the list are:

Any properties built after 1945 generally don’t meet listed status requirements, unless they have an exceptional reason for doing so. However, buildings over 30 years old can apply to be listed if they have some sort of historical significance.

 Adding a newer listed building to the official list

As time moves forward there will be newer buildings that will become eligible to become a listed property. Most new listed buildings being added to the official register are those that were previously not old enough to have qualified.

Newer buildings can become eligible for listed status where they were not previously because of some event that has made the property unique. This could be for example when a property has earned a special place in popular culture through being home to someone famous or being used for something unique.

 A good example of this would be the famous Abbey Road Studios, London, because of the close association with The Beatles having recorded almost all of their studio material there. This has more recently become a listed property because of its history rather than for the studio’s age or architecture.

If you think you have a case for your property to become listed, then you can get in touch with your local authority to organise an assessment of your property.

 Taking care of a listed building

One thing to take on board is the fact that whatever repairs or alterations you plan to make to your listed property, the materials used and the craftsmanship and expertise needed to perform the job may be expensive.

For example, the cost of repairs to replace a thatched roof will be much higher than the cost of repairing a modern tiled roof.

So, if you are buying a property knowing that it is already a listed building, or you currently own a listed property, in most cases you will be held responsible for its upkeep and must comply with strict rules and regulations regarding any repairs you make.

You must also seek authorised permission before making any alterations to the property. Failure to do so could see you facing criminal prosecution.

Just like any ageing building, your listed property will need to have some repair and maintenance work undertaken towards its general upkeep. Again, you may be compelled to only use specific period-appropriate materials and repair or construction techniques. For example, a listed Cotswold stone cottage would not be allowed to have repairs or alterations made using modern brick to replace walls or to repair original features.

Before you make any changes, you will need to have all of your alteration plans inspected closely by a Conservation Officer and have their approval before you can proceed with any works. It would also be advisable to never carry out anything other than straightforward repairs and simple property maintenance without first obtaining Listed Building Consent (LBC).

Should anything untoward happen, and some serious damage is done to your listed property, the materials needed for repairs will be more expensive than modern-day materials and your local Conservation Officer will need to make sure that you are using the appropriate traditional materials for your repairs as well as using the same original construction techniques to leave your home in a like-for-like condition.

 Getting the right listed building insurance for your home

It is worth seeking out specialist insurance advice for your listed building insurance needs. Most high street insurance companies will not be happy to cover listed buildings, so you will need to contact a trusted and knowledgeable company, such as Listed Property Protection, to get the right level of listed building insurance to meet your individual needs.

Listed properties are often unique in nature and rarely will two listed properties be exactly the same, or need the same level of insurance to cover the individual needs of each property.

To make sure that you are properly covered with the right insurance for your listed property should the worst happen, then get in touch with our friendly team at LLP to discuss your insurance needs. We are specialists in our field and can arrange listed building insurance to fit your needs perfectly!

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