Self-builders are being warned not to fall foul of Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) rules governing when they can start work or they risk having to pay a charge which they otherwise could have been exempt from.
Associate, Suzanne Tucker, a planning specialist with law firm FBC Manby Bowdler, said a judgement in a recent planning appeal concerning CIL that ruled against one self-builder was an important lesson to others in the same position.
People building their own homes can claim an Exemption Certificate (SBEC) so they don’t have to pay the CIL as long as a Commencement Notice is submitted to their local council no later than the day before the day work starts.
In the appeal, despite the builder’s contention that he submitted the notice, the council said it never received it. A planning inspector ruled in favour of the council, forcing the builder to stump up for the CIL with a 20 per cent surcharge on top.
Suzanne explained: “Under the CIL regulations, if work starts before a valid Commencement Notice is received by the authority, the exemption is lost and a surcharge equal to 20 per cent of the chargeable amount will be payable on top of the CIL.
“In this case, the self builder said he submitted the notice to the council but it had no record of receiving it. If he had sent it by registered post, rather than normal mail, he would have had proof that he had acted correctly and wouldn’t have been in this position.
“The Inspector also noted that the builder could have contacted the council before starting work to confirm they’d received the notice. Not to do so was a risky strategy that has ended up costing him dearly.
“It’s not a complicated procedure but sometimes, during the stress of self-building, it can be easy to fall behind with paperwork but it’s vital to make sure you comply with the Regulations and double check you can proceed. Otherwise it can be a costly mistake.”