Can You Actually Live In A Garden Room? Here Are The Rules
11th March 2020
A garden building can have a lot of uses but without proper planning permission, you cannot actually live in a garden room. If you wanted to go down this route you would need to seek specialist advice and support and will also need to declare the exact use of the building to regulators as well as any neighbours. You would need to iron out any differences with them prior to any work being started and if for whatever reason, there was a dispute, it could turn into a long and costly process.
However, a garden room can be used as living space eg. an occasional guest room, a place for sleepovers and so on without the need for planning permission. So, if you wanted to utilise this room in this sort of way, the latter would be your safest and easiest option.
Planning Permission Rules
Modern garden rooms do not usually require a planning application as they fall within permitted development rules under class E. This is pre-approved planning permission as long as your room is built subject to a number of limits and conditions
The most important factors are:
1) That the garden room is no higher than 2.5m from the bottom of the building to the top of the roof (if within 2m of boundary)
2) That you do not take up more than 50% of your garden area with this or any other buildings
3) It is not to be used for living or sleeping accommodation
And this is where it gets tricky as you can see from point 3. If you did want to take things further and apply for planning permission you would have to take the following steps:
- contact your local planning office
- complete their application forms
- provide details of your build including size, structure, materials and use
- provide accurate site drawings
- provide an ordnance map
You will incur fees during this process but should have a final outcome within around 8 weeks. If you were to only use this as an occasional sleeping room you would be able to avoid this process completely.
To use a garden room a sleeping quarters, it must comply with Building Regulations. These are in place to ensure there is control over the quality of the building’s structure, making sure it is safe and fit for purpose. Most companies who design, construct and build garden rooms should know the ins and outs of all of these regulations so it would be worth speaking to them before committing to anything.
Your next step would be to seek the advice of your local planning authority just to ensure that you have everything clear in your mind and that they are aware of your intentions. Once the build is complete your checks can be carried out to see if the garden room has been constructed to the appropriate measures for use. Building regulations will cover areas such as the foundations and floor, insulation, windows, drafts, electricity, drainage and so on.
Your planning authority or garden room company should be able to supply you with a certificate to verify that the build is suitable.
Comfortable Sleeping Quarters
Of course, if you were to use your garden room for a guest room you will need to ensure that not only the building regulations are in place but that you also take other aspects into full consideration. You would need heating and lighting, clean running water, a toilet and most probably a kitchenette area. You will also need to check that your garden room is draft proofed, that it provides all the necessary home comforts (bed, sofa, lamps, TV) and that it isn’t too noisy– this is where decent soundproofing and insulation is very important.
Other Things To Consider
Once built, you will need to check if your new garden room will increase the cost of your annual council tax. This is an extension of your home and if you are using it as a place to sleep you will need to declare this.
You will also want to carefully consider the future upkeep of this building, that your neighbours are happy with it and its use, that you don’t start to use it as a regular sleeping place if you do not have the correct planning permission and if you do want this to change that you seek the correct advice and take the right legal routes in order to make this happen.
For further information on planning permission check out the Citizens Advice Bureau website or to talk through your ideas for your new build, why not give us a call over at Modern Garden Rooms? With years of expertise, we can advise which path is best for you to take.