CIL and the Self Build Exemption


As if the CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) Regulations were not hard enough to comprehend on their own, the deceptively simple sounding self build exemption contains many traps for the unwary! 

To qualify for the exemption, one ‘self certifies’ that a dwelling will be built (whether by you or by a contractor for you) for your own personal residence, but before starting and after completing the building, many steps have to be taken to make good the claim. Niall Blackie, Planning specialist and Partner of FBC Manby Bowdler recommends:


  • That if it is intended that any dwelling within a development should be a self build dwelling then the permission should be expressed to be a phased permission with each dwelling as a separate phase (because otherwise technically the commencement of the first dwelling or road access etc would trigger the CIL charge for the whole development). This requires careful discussion with the Council planning officers. The system is a lot easier to navigate if the CIL exemption is envisaged from the start!

  • The claimant must intend to build or commission the building of the dwelling in accordance with the permission. We strongly recommend that there should be no change to the permission, eg through amendments to the permission or under s73 after the claim is made, (and certainly no departure from the approved plans) since otherwise the exemption may be lost. But it is also important that legal advice is taken before becoming involved in self build where the claimant is simply commissioning the building, because there are some difficult questions as to what constitutes the commissioning of a building project.

  • The claimant must intend to occupy it as their sole or main residence for three years from completion

  • The claimant must:

    • Assume liability to pay the CIL for their dwelling by lodging the relevant form with the CIL authority. 
    • And then make the self build claim to and have it approved by the CIL Authority before development commences.
    • Give a valid Notice of Commencement of Development before it occurs; check that it has been received by the CIL authority and that they accept it is valid before commencing work otherwise the exemption is lost.

  • If the CIL Authority does not accept the claim then the review or appeal procedures have to be completed before commencement; the rights are lost after commencement of the development.

  • It would be important to ensure that before assuming liability the self builder has a conditional contract in place to ensure that if the exemption is enabled, they can acquire the interest in the land that they need to hold during the claw back period before the period begins 

  • Within 6 months from the compliance (completion) certificate evidence must be supplied to confirm that the project was self build, the date of completion, with a copy of the title deeds and proof of occupation (three forms of proof (including a Council Tax certificate) are required) and an HMRC approval

  • There is then a claw back period of three years. If, within that period, a disqualifying event occurs then the exemption is lost and the payment of the normal CIL has to be made, plus a surcharge. The events include ceasing to occupy as the sole or main residence; failure to comply with the evidential requirements; letting out the building; selling it. As a result it is vital that before the self build arrangement is set up, legal advice is taken as to the timing of any alteration in the title to the land, such as leases or family transfers.

For further information, please contact Niall on 01952 211320 or send us an enquiry using the enquiry button below. Alternatively, visit our Town & Country Planning services.

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