Right to Build
FREE Right to Build Advice
“We know that time is precious for you, we can work around your availability while searching for the most competitive mortgage products and overseeing your mortgage application from start to finish”.
Jonathan Smith – (CeMAP, BA Hons, Aff SWW, CeRER)
Finding the right plot is often one of the biggest challenges faced when looking to build your own home. The demand for new housing far outweighs the supply, further restricting your chances of finding suitable land to self-build or custom-build your home on. The Right to Build register, however, can help you embark on your self-build journey.
At Trinity Finance, we have firsthand experience with self-build projects. We understand the frustration of being held back while trying to find land in the area you want to build. When you finally find a plot in the right area, you’re then faced with the possibility of being unable to obtain planning permission. In this guide, we’ll explain what the Right to Build is, how it works and its importance when you want to build your own home. We’ll also detail the eligibility criteria and how you can register for the Right to Build.
What is the Right to Build?
In April 2016, legislation came into effect as part of the Housing and Planning Act 2016 to increase self-build opportunities in England. Local councils are now obligated to grant planning permission for enough serviced plots to meet the demand for self-build and custom-build homes. This applies for a 3-year period either up to or over the registration numbers recorded each year for their area. Known as the Right to Build, the legislation requires local councils to keep a register of anyone interested in either building their own home or commissioning someone to build it on their behalf.
How does the Right to Build work?
Local councils have to keep a list of anyone who wants to self-build or custom-build their home in that area. This list is called the Right to Build register and councils must meet the demand by providing enough serviced plots. They have 3 years within which to do this from the date that someone has registered. This 3-year cycle begins on 31st October each year. Whilst the local councils don’t have to provide the actual plots, they need to grant planning permission for local serviced plots and ensure that enough are available to meet the demand. It’s important to understand that although the supply of plots must meet the demand within the 3-year time frame, this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be offered a plot in your preferred area or to precisely match your requirements.
What is a serviced plot?
As mentioned above, the Right to Build legislation specifically applies to serviced plots. These are plots of land that have utility connections in place, such as electricity, water and mains sewage. Many plots also have gas, telephone and high-speed broadband connections. Serviced plots also have access to a public highway. They’re not necessarily located next to a public highway but have guaranteed access to one. Some plots even have the foundations in place. As the plots are laid out and the infrastructure is already dealt with, they’re ready to build on straight away.
These shovel-ready plots also have outline planning permission and many have full planning permission. Using a serviced plot, therefore, helps you save time, money and stress. There’s no need to search for suitable land, you don’t need to worry about obtaining planning permission and you don’t have to deal with the highways departments and utility companies. Serviced plots can be owned by local councils, private individuals or the public sector. They can also be found on large housing developments.
The importance of the Right to Build register
Even though you might not be offered a plot that suits you, the fact that you’re on the Right to Build register places greater pressure on the local council to support self-build projects. The UK is far behind other countries in this respect and the government aims to change this. With councils having to adhere to the Right to Build legislation, more opportunities will become available for people to build the home of their dreams. This means that those who’ve been waiting to build their homes can finally do so, increasing the number of self-build projects in England.
As self-building and custom-building become easier due to government incentives, such as the Right to Build scheme and the Help to Build equity loan, they will also gain in popularity. As a result, many more new homes will be created, the housing will be more diversified across England and more opportunities will become available for small building companies and other professionals involved in self-build and custom-build projects.
We can arrange your self-build mortgage
When you’re ready to build your home, we can arrange a self-build mortgage for you. Specifically designed for self-build and custom-build projects, funds are released in stages throughout the build with this type of mortgage. Lenders have varying criteria for self-build mortgages and, at Trinity Finance, we work with specialist lenders and private banks who offer flexibility with this.
Our mortgage brokers in Kent and London will check the stipulations and your eligibility before submitting your application to the right lender. That way, you can be sure of having a successful mortgage application for your building project. Just give us a call on 01322 907 000 to get started. If you prefer, send an email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or an enquiry via our contact form. One of our mortgage specialists will reply to you as quickly as possible with more information. We can also check your eligibility for the Help to Build loan if you need help with the affordability.
Why build your own home?
Building your own home, or commissioning someone to do this for you, gives you the freedom to create a home to suit your preferred style and include features that completely meet your needs. You may prefer an open-plan layout rather than various separate rooms, for example. You can make your home energy-efficient and incorporate smart technology. You can factor in specific needs, such as making life easier for an elderly relative or catering to a disability.
The Right to Build scheme focuses on self-builds and custom-builds. When you self-build your home, you’re involved with the entire building project. You buy the plot of land, source the building materials and work closely with the professionals involved, such as the project manager, builders, architects, plumbers and electricians. When you opt for a custom build, you have less involvement, liaising with a builder or developer on the design specifications while they handle the build. This is a good option if you want to benefit from having a bespoke home that precisely meets your needs and style preferences but you don’t have the time or the know-how to contribute more than your input on the design.
Eligibility criteria for the Right to Build
To register for the Right to Build, you need to be over 18 and a British citizen, an EEA national or a Swiss national. The home you’re going to build must be used as your main residence. This means you can’t register if you want to build a property as a buy-to-let investment, to sell on or as a holiday home.
How to register for the Right to Build
Each local council maintains its own Right to Build register and you can register with one or more local councils. You can join as an individual or as part of a group. As an individual, you’re registering for a separate serviced plot. When you register as a community group, this is for a plot that can accommodate the relevant number of homes. You can either search for the Right to Build register on each local council’s website or apply online at https://www.righttobuildregister.co.uk/.
Each local council has its own requirements for the information you need to provide. You may just need to give them your name, address and confirmation of eligibility. Some local councils ask for copies of ID, some charge fees and others expect you to have a connection to the area. For example, you may need to already live or work in the area. You generally need to confirm the size and type of home you intend to build, your preferred area, the proposed time frame to complete the build and how you’re going to fund the self-build or custom-build project. The more information you can provide, the better your chances of being offered a plot that closely meets your requirements.
The next stage of the application process
You should receive confirmation from the relevant council within 28 days as to whether or not you’ve been accepted on their register. You may need to provide them with more information at this stage. If you haven’t been accepted on their Right to Build register, they will detail the reasons. Depending on what these are, you may be able to submit a new application.
Register your need for a plot of land with the Right to Build
The government Right to Build scheme puts you one step closer to building your own home. So too does the Help to Build: Equity Loan scheme if you need a financial boost for your self-build project. Our mortgage brokers can help you to prepare the correct information for each scheme to increase your chances of success. Based in Kent and London, they can also secure the best self-build mortgage for your needs. At Trinity Finance, we work closely with specialist lenders and private banks so you can benefit from flexible terms and competitive rates.
For expert advice and guidance on your self-build project, just give us a call on 01322 907 000. We can advise you on alternative funding options to a mortgage if you prefer as well as the insurance options available. If it’s out of office hours, send us an email at email@example.com or an enquiry via our contact form. One of our mortgage brokers will reply to you as quickly as possible with more information to help your self-build journey run smoothly.
Unfortunately not. Whilst the local councils have to ensure that enough Right to Build plots are made available to meet the demand in their area, that’s the extent of their responsibility. They don’t have to match a plot to your specifications or provide a plot in your preferred area. However, the more information you supply when submitting your application for the Right to Build register, the more likely you are to get a plot that is close to your requirements.
Each local council has its own criteria when applying for the Right to Build register. Some will require you to have a local connection. This means that you need to live or work in the area, for example, or have a family connection there. If a local connection is insisted upon, a two-part register has to be kept. The first part has to record those meeting the local connection criteria. The local council then has a legal obligation to provide plots for those listed in the first part of the register.
Local councils have the right to levy a registration fee but this is at each council’s discretion. Those that charge a fee can decide on the amount but it must be reasonable. The Right to Build guidance states that the fee must be proportionate to the register running costs and it mustn’t deter anyone from registering.
It’s unlikely but this depends on the local council you’re registering with. Most local councils will ask for more information about your proposed self-build or custom-build project. This may include how you intend to fund it but they won’t necessarily insist that you have that funding in place. Local councils set their own criteria but only some have been known to insist on a mortgage offer before allowing applicants to register.