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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10973
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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In 2009 I put my large house (8 bedrooms) on the market and

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In 2009 I put my large house (8 bedrooms) on the market and no one came to see it. I therefore started holiday lettings and it is a huge success, with a great track record and many repeat visitors. I live in the cottage in the grounds and manage the bookings, cleaners, gardener, but do not provide any cooking or services to those in the house. I am repeatedly asked if I will apply for a licence so a registrar can marry couples at the property. I am loth to do this because I do not want to draw attention to what I am doing in case my local council stops my letting business. I have taken advice from a planning advisor who says that they may say I must apply for a chance of use for the house and make it in the hotel class C. How would this affect its resale value? Surely it would become a business then? What would happen to capital gains tax? This may not be something you know, but is being classified as C class usually a bad idea? All advice and suggestions welcome.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
If the UK law changes to allow couples to be legally married in the UK by a humanist celebrant for example, that would solve the problem of being able to get married here surrounded by your friends.
1. There is no real problem with being classified as C class for Planning purposes. It expands the range of uses you can use your building for. However, there are issues with it, if you wish to sell the property. Then you would have to sell the property, not as a residential dwelling but as a hotel business. The sale would also attract Capital Gains Tax on any uplift in value from the time the building was changed to Class C use until the date of sale. If you wanted to use the Principal Private Residence exemption from Capital Gains TAx, you would have to stop using the building as a hotel for one year and live in it again. This would then allow you to get a zero rate of CGT on any sale. Be aware that you will be paying tax as a business, namely, as a hotel business. 2. Normally, a hotel Class C would be sold on the basis of multiples of its turnover. Not the buildings use value as a dwelling. This usually means that the building is worth more in a rural area, provided there is a good turnover, but less in London where the prices for private dwellings are high. However, I would suggest you speak with a local Auctioneer and valuer about the potential value should you change the building to Class C. Some indication based on your business turnover will provide an accurate value should you change to Class C use.3. Please RATE the Answer as unless you RATE the answer your Expert receives none of the monies you have paid the website so there is no incentive to answer any further questions.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your answer, it is very helpful in deciding what not to do! I am trying to find a way to use the property to increase our income and it would seem that anything that risks us having to be class C would have a negative impact. Can I give you a bit more information? In 2007 the property was valued at £4 million and it is probably £3.5 million now, although this area, being close to Reading is increasing again quite rapidly. There are 2 houses on the land and the one that we rent is probably worth £2 million, if we applied to separate the two. Our mortgage is £2 million.Our current income is £100,000 from the rentals and we are registered for VAT and pay tax on this. Running costs for the whole property is high. So renting the main house allows us to afford to stay here.In 2016 I would like to put a marquee in the garden so we could offer small wedding receptions to guests staying in the house. Or Rehearsal Dinners for close family. I can use a marquee 28 days a year, but we would target 4 receptions maximum 50 people so as not to disrupt any neighbours. Could the council prevent us doing this? Our neighbours are supportive, but would not be if the house had to become a hotel. My son is getting married here in 2016 so his wedding would be one of the four.Do you see any dangers in this plan from the council sending us a stop notice? Do you know if the law is likely to change soon to legalise humanist marriages as in Scotland? If that is a possibility it would be very good news and I would not risk applying for an actual wedding licence?Sorry to come back with more questions, but I need to make a plan in the next two weeks. You have been very helpful. How does the payment system work?
4. The one thing you need to realise is that as long as you merely have residential use on your property, there is a possibility that someone may object and the Council may scrutinise more closely what you are at and whether there is conformity with the planning laws. Certainly, if you are intending holding weddings, you should get an expanded use category as the Council can lawfully issue you with a Stop Notice if you are holding (even four) weddings commercially. There is no issue with your son's wedding. However, the other three weddings are problematic from a planning use point of view.
5. The one thing which strikes me, is if you have a listed or heritage building the local Council will expand the category of uses to which you are entitled in order to assist with the upkeep of the heritage/listed building. My own experience has been that the local Council will support the owners of listed/heritage dwellings so as to assist in their upkeep, if the owners wish to use the dwelling for some use which involves the public, such as a guesthouse or wedding usage. So, I would advise you to have a friendly chat with your local planning or heritage officer and see what they might be amenable to.
6. I regret to say I don't know if or when the law might change in England & Wales to as to accord with Scotland and to allow humanist marriages. It is simply something I am unaware of.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Final question..sadly not a heritage property or listed. So if a guest rents a property for a holiday for example for a week and they hold a party, is this against planning? If we rent our house to guests rough a site such as Airbnb is this against planning? We are in an area of outstanding natural beauty and have no close neighbours. ( but sound travel!) last question I promise and totally satisfied, thank you!!!
8. THERE is no difficulty with a guest having a party whilst staying with you. However, it is the extent of the party. A guest who invites four friends into their room is one thing, but once you hold a wedding with 50 paying guests, the increase in use level takes you into a different planning use category to that of a dwelling. Secondly, there is no difficulty with renting rooms out on AirBnB. That is similar to your current use level. It is the intensification of the user beyond that of a dwelling and its ancilliary uses that engages the planning issues.
9. Please RATE.
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