Home > Planning > When is an Annexe Not an Annexe?

When is an Annexe Not an Annexe?

By: Helena Stratford - Updated: 19 Jun 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Annexe Extension Planning Entrance

Planning issues with any extension build project have the potential to be complicated but when considering an annexe, there are several points to take into account.

Whether a property already has an existing, interconnecting 'granny' annexe, a completely separate unit or whether the plan is to separate part of the home to potentially let it, the configuration can all make a big difference to how a Local Planning Authority is likely to view the situation - as well as what the owner wishes to do with it.

Definition of an Annexe

An annexe is defined in planning guidance notes as:
Accommodation which is ancillary to the main residential dwelling and used for this purpose. It may be interconnecting within the property as a whole (for instance via doorways) or it may be accessed via a completely separate external entrance, but if it forms separate and additional accommodation for the main house, it will be viewed as an annexe.

Council Tax and Annexes

Contrary to popular belief, a home does not have to have a separate entrance or front door to be liable for a separate council tax charge. The Valuations Office, a branch of HMRC and the department responsible for setting Council Tax on properties, deems an annexe to be liable for separate banding if it could be classed as a self-contained unit - i.e. it has its own kitchen area, bathroom and sleeping/living space - even if it shares other services and entrances with the main house. Two sets of Council Tax could be levied if a property has an annex, so you'll need to consider that if you are:

  1. building an annexe
  2. buying a house with an annexe
  3. designing an extension to include an annexe

You may be able to apply for a 'Class T' exemption to the second amount of tax if it is possible to prove that the annexe is :

  • for sole family use
  • for someone who is substantially mentally or physically disabled
  • for a relative over the age of 65

Flexibility of an Annexe

Annexes seem to have grown in popularity over recent years as they are a relatively simple way of utilising a home or extension in the most flexible way. For some, they can provide a useful extra income through renting out the additional space whilst for others, an annexe can provide future security as families plan for ageing relatives and 'boomerang' children who return to live at home after university.

Letting an Annexe

What is crucial, however, is to be clear as to how the annexe may be used right at the planning stage. If the annexe is to be commercially let at any time, then Change of Use Planning will be required and it varies hugely from LPA to LPA (Local Planning Authority) as to how such projects are viewed. Back in 2012, there was talk of permission being scrapped for annexes but so far nothing has happened and it is vital to check with the council before commencing any work. Detail of exactly what is permitted can be found on page 40 of the government guidance notes: Permitted Development for Householders - Technical Guidance.

Wider Implications of Letting an Annexe

It follows that if the annexe is to be let, then there will be further implications and responsibilities to consider. The mortgage lender will need to be informed and again, depending on the provider,attitudes will vary as to whether they look favourably on this or not. Insurance will also need to be checked as some home insurance companies, such as Direct Line, don't take on residential landlord's insurance and of course there will be tax implications from the resulting revenue stream in renting the property.

Becoming a Landlord should not be taken lightly and it would be wise to consider legal obligations such as gas safety checks, fire regulations and access to the annexe at an early planning stage as it could mean expensive alterations to the house as a whole.

Letting Rooms within the Home

If the property already has an 'internal' annexe - i.e. it isn't completely separate from the main house but has its own bathroom, then one option available, in consideration of any extension build plans, is to let the rooms to a lodger. This is certainly possible - and financially very beneficial - under the Government's Rent-a-Room scheme. This scheme allows a person to earn up to £4200 per annum tax free by letting out a portion of their home. What is clear, however, is that:
  • The owner of the property must be living at the home
  • The property owner must have regular access to the lodger's area
  • The kitchen must be shared. If the annexe section has its own kitchen and is separable from the main part of the house then this, under council legislation, is deemed to need separate planning.

An annexe then, can be a flexible, useful and potentially profitable addition to a home - but it can also bring with it a minefield of red tape - mainly between the Valuations office and the Planning office - and could saddle the home owner with the unanticipated role and responsibilities of acting as Landlord. So before making any plans to buy, build or alter a property with an annexe, it is important to have that conversation with the Local Planning Authority first.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Hi, It's me again, sorry to be so needy. The stables we wish to convert into a self contained granny annex was built by me and I used a concrete base (slab) with steel mesh reinforcement. It's quite substantial and have not seen any movement in 12 years. My question is, when we are converting these stables I understand Building control will monitor it to some extent. My question is, would they be happy enough with the concrete base already in place.? Many Thanks
felttip - 19-Jun-18 @ 2:48 PM
Hi We have some stables that are now redundant because the Council are going to build on the fields we rent to graze the horses. We are considering what to do with these stables and assume we will not need planning to turn it into something useful, such as a granny annex. However the stables are around 500 feet away from main house so for practical reasons would want to extend our drive down to new granny annex, My question is, will we have an automatic right to turn the stables into residential building (still tied to house) and is there any planning restrictions on extending our drive down the garden? The stables are about 6 x 8 metres Could my wife and I live in it and rent the house? Grateful for any advice.
felttip - 19-Jun-18 @ 2:18 PM
Louloubelle - Your Question:
My father has detached barn which he has converted into an Annexe with relevant permissions an plans and it has been occupied since 96. However there was a break in 2012 when my sister moved out and it was unoccupied til we took over the council tax and moved in May 2015. A neighbour has made a complaint an we are now having to get a certificate of lawfulness to prove someone has been living on the property. It is completely self contained. Some has always been paying council tax since 96, yet the council want us to have this certificate. Can my dad still gift this to us for IHT reasons with this certificate of lawfullness hanging over us. What should we be doing and why are they pursuing this when it’s been lived in for so long. Does the short unoccupation make a difference to the 4 year rule does it have to be continuous even though tax was paid in the unoccupation? I’m so confused.

Our Response:
Was planning permission given for the annexe to be for part of themain residence or as a separate dwelling? If the former, then change of use (hence the requirement for a certificate of lawfulness) might be needed.
ExtensionBuild - 15-Jun-18 @ 10:41 AM
My father has detached barn which he has converted into an Annexe with relevant permissions an plans and it has been occupied since 96.However there was a break in 2012 when my sister moved out and it was unoccupied til we took over the council tax andmoved in May 2015.A neighbour has made a complaint an we are now having to get a certificate of lawfulness to prove someone has been living on the property.It is completely self contained. Some has always been paying council tax since 96, yet the council want us to have this certificate. Can my dad still gift this to us for IHT reasons with this certificate of lawfullness hanging over us.What should we be doing and why are they pursuing this when it’s been lived in for so long.Does the short unoccupation make a difference to the 4 year rule does it have to be continuous even though tax was paid in the unoccupation? I’m so confused....
Louloubelle - 14-Jun-18 @ 7:51 AM
Tatiana - Your Question:
We want to build an annex and get planning permission for it for a family member to live in. Once we get planning for this, if we later want to let it out or allow an au-pair or nanny stay in it, can the council say we need to either stop or tear the building down? Will the council allow us to let it out at all, when they have originally given permission for a family member?

Our Response:
Talk to your planning officer about this - an annexe for say a teenager, will require different permissions than one that is rented out etc. The council are unlikely to force you to "tear it down" but you may not be able to use it as any other than your original application/intention.
ExtensionBuild - 11-Jun-18 @ 1:50 PM
We want to build an annex and get planning permission for it for a family member to live in. Once we get planning for this, if we later want to let it out or allow an au-pair or nanny stay in it, can the council say we need to either stop or tear the building down? Will the council allow us to let it out at all, when they have originally given permission for a family member?
Tatiana - 8-Jun-18 @ 10:48 AM
My friend has kindly offered the opportunity for my daughter and I to build a log cabin on her land for us to permanently live in, the cabins water and electrics will come from the main house, it's height will be in the limitations required to try and prevent planning permission. There won't be a full kitchen just a work space, a shower room, living area and two bedrooms, can anybody please inform me if this is something that will be allowed? We are not related, not sure if this matters?
Curious - 22-Apr-18 @ 8:54 PM
I have a room over my garage which is accessed via the shared utility room. The garage and utility room are linked to the house. It has its own shower room and a kitchen sink and work surface with a kettle and toaster but no other cooking facilities. Would this be regarded as a separate annexe for council tax purposes. Many thanks if anyone can clarify this for me.
Phil - 21-Apr-18 @ 6:51 AM
my neighbors make an extension to the house, with a transparent roof. I it prevents, we hope the courts and my house is 1 meter lower than the neighborhood and therefore the height of the roof is very large. and I can't leave the window open on the second floor because the thieves will come to me. the fence between us and he is tall more than 2 meters, and the roof above the fence. we have a corner house and therefore the yards are very close. What am I to do?
Elliot81 - 19-Apr-18 @ 8:57 PM
coco - Your Question:
My husband and I are planning to apply for planning permission to knock down our existing house and my daughter and her husband will pay to build a new house in its place for themselves. We are planning to knock down a large garage/shed complex and replace this with a three bay cart lodge with one bed living above to include kitchen/bathroom/living room to house our son. We plan to erect a one and a half storey building to the side and to the back of my daughters main house which will have 2 bedrooms/kitchen/bathroom/living room. Should we have two land registry titles. Will this annex be liable to council tax. When we both pass away will it be difficult to pass this on to our daughter.

Our Response:
If it's to be lived in separately it will be classed as an annex for council tax purposes. If you want to have separate energy supplies/utilitly bills and separate addresses (for post and so on), then you will need to apply for planning permission for this (as well as for the buildings themselves). A Will can say what your daughter receives if you die.
ExtensionBuild - 11-Apr-18 @ 10:47 AM
Hedgehog - Your Question:
Question.We own a house with an attached annexe (previously our garage).The annexe was separated on the land registry by the previous owner and purchasedby somebody else who lived in there.The water stop tap in our house stops the water in the annexe as well as ours.Likewise. if the annexe turns off its electric mains - Our electric is cut off.The person who lived in the annexe passed away unfortunately and the annexeWas repossessed with solicitors instructed to sell it.I spoke to the Local council planning department because we were consideringwhether to make an offer or not. They told us that as far as they were concernedthe annexe is still part of our building and wasn't given planning permissionto be anything other than our annexe for our own private use.I have asked the selling estate agent / selling solicitor to investigate further.As stated earlier - it is separated on the land registry - but no planningPermission to separate completely has come to light yet.So.Would that mean that they can only sell back to ourselves??Because its can only be used by ourselves without PP to separate.The estate agent was very keen for us to make an offer. They have notput the annexe on the market or put any for sale signs up. Which I thought wasa bit strange. They said if we made an offer they would give us firstrefusal and chance to purchase before it went on the open market.Again. I thought that was a bit strange.So here's my conspiracy theory :They already know they have no choice other than to sellback to ourselves - but they are trying to hide this fact - because thatPuts us in a very strong position obviously.Would welcome your thoughts

Our Response:
No they can sell it to someone else. The buyer would simply have to deal with the planning permission issue (they might buy indemnity insurance to help with this).
ExtensionBuild - 9-Apr-18 @ 2:28 PM
My husband and I are planning to apply for planning permission to knock down our existing house and my daughter and her husband will pay to build a new house in its place for themselves. We are planning to knock down a large garage/shed complex and replace this with a three bay cart lodge with one bed living above to include kitchen/bathroom/living room to house our son.We plan to erect a one and a half storey building to the side and to the back of my daughters main house which will have 2 bedrooms/kitchen/bathroom/living room. Should we have two land registry titles. Will this annex be liable to council tax. When we both pass away will it be difficult to pass this on to our daughter.
coco - 8-Apr-18 @ 7:59 PM
Question. We own a house with an attached annexe (previously our garage). The annexe was separated on the land registry by the previous owner and purchased by somebody else who lived in there. The water stop tap in our house stops the water in the annexe as well as ours. Likewise.... if the annexe turns off its electric mains - Our electric is cut off. The person who lived in the annexe passed away unfortunately and the annexe Was repossessed with solicitors instructed to sell it. I spoke to the Local council planning department because we were considering whether to make an offer or not.They told us that as far as they were concerned the annexe is still part of our building and wasn't given planning permission to be anything other than our annexe for our own private use. I have asked the selling estate agent / selling solicitor to investigate further. As stated earlier - it is separated on the land registry - but no planning Permission to separate completely has come to light yet. So........ Would that mean that they can only sell back to ourselves?? Because its can only be used by ourselves without PP to separate. The estate agent was very keen for us to make an offer. They have not put the annexe on the market or put any for sale signs up. Which I thought was a bit strange. They said if we made an offer they would give us first refusal and chance to purchase before it went on the open market. Again.... I thought that was a bit strange...... So here's my conspiracy theory : They already know they have no choice other than to sell back to ourselves - but they are trying to hide this fact - because that Puts us in a very strong position obviously. Would welcome your thoughts
Hedgehog - 7-Apr-18 @ 7:19 PM
Joey - Your Question:
Hi any information will be gratefully appreciated , I have a council house that I have had for some years my mother is now getting very unsteady on her feet and I really want to look after her l don’t have room in the house but wanted to either buy one of those flat packed build it yourself lodge or have one made or even have a caravan lifted into the back garden my garden is roughly 80 ft long x45 wide so lots of room for it but does anyone on here know if the council would say no due to myself not be the owner of the house?? Thanks

Our Response:
You may simply have to ask the council, if they say no, they may be able to help you with some alternative suggestions.
ExtensionBuild - 28-Mar-18 @ 10:20 AM
Hi any information will be gratefully appreciated , I have a council house that I have had for some years my mother is now getting very unsteady on her feet and I really want to look after her l don’t have room in the house but wanted to either buy one of those flat packed build it yourself lodge or have one made or even have a caravan lifted into the back garden my garden is roughly 80 ft long x45 wide so lots of room for it but does anyone on here know if the council would say no due to myself not be the owner of the house?? Thanks
Joey - 26-Mar-18 @ 1:10 AM
SixOfOne - Your Question:
Hi, moved into a property with an existing annex, which was 2 rooms. Living room and a bedroom. These were in a state of disrepair, we had this refurbished and my father-in-law moved into the annex. However, there is no kitchen or bathroom facilities in the annex and the front door was removed. As my father-in-law is an paraplegic amputee, we had modifications completed within the house to accommodate his needs. The council have listed this as a second property, although exempt from tax (on the annex). Is there a case here to dispute it as an annex or rather an extension? Due to the modifications we completed, we applied for a 50% discount on the main house, which was declined as he sleeps in the annex itself. Is it worth disputing this?

Our Response:
It might be worth disputing especially as there are no bathroom or kitchen facilities.
ExtensionBuild - 19-Mar-18 @ 10:41 AM
Hi, moved into a property with an existing annex, which was 2 rooms. Living room and a bedroom. These were in a state of disrepair, we had this refurbished and my father-in-law moved into the annex. However, there is no kitchen or bathroom facilities in the annex and the front door was removed. As my father-in-law is an paraplegic amputee, we had modifications completed within the house to accommodate his needs. The council have listed this as a second property, although exempt from tax (on the annex). Is there a case here to dispute it as an annex or rather an extension? Due to the modifications we completed, we applied for a 50% discount on the main house, which was declined as he sleeps in the annex itself. Is it worth disputing this?
SixOfOne - 16-Mar-18 @ 10:30 AM
I have lived in and owned my house for 19 years, it is a mid terrace property that has a basement that was converted to a flat in 1977. I bought the property as one unit and it has one title deed that covers the whole property.I have always paid two separate council taxes and i do not dispute the councils right to charge this. However my council has introduced a 50% additional levy on second homes and they have classified my basement as a second home. In the regulations an "Annex forming part of or being treated as part of the main dwelling" is listed as an exemption but the council refuse to classify my basement as an Annex. I have always used the basement as part of my house never having let it, only family and friends have stayed in it. I have struggled to find a definition of an Annex, the council do not accept that the Valuation Office guidance in their publication Council Tax, Council Tax Bands and Annexes is relevant. Are you able to give me a definition of an Annex that I can use to persuade the Council that my basement is indeed an Annex?
Daisy - 1-Mar-18 @ 3:58 PM
Hi, my sister and brother in law are going to have their garage which is attached to their house converted into an annex for us to go and live there, the garage which is single story will be extended to include - kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and living area all on one level. We are all over 65 and our reason for doing this is so we can all look after each other during the final years of our life. My question is , will the annex be classed as a completely separate residence so we have separate utility and council tax bills or will we have to share the bills . The annex will have it’s own access doors and is not and was not originally accessible through the house, it will be built with full building regs.
Strider - 1-Mar-18 @ 11:01 AM
Apple - Your Question:
Would be grateful for some advice here.We have a house with an extension converted from a garage to a separate lounge and a kitchen at the back done by the previous owner. The extension has a separate entrance from inside the porch. Now the Valuation officer is coming to inspect to check its in the correct CT band. Would the Valuation Office Agency rate this extension as "self-contained" when there is no shower/bathroom? Would they consider it possible to be "let" separately?

Our Response:
If it's the only kitchen it should be regarded as part of the main property.If the annexe section has its own kitchen and there is another kitchen in the main part of the house then it might be deemed separate for council tax purposes.
ExtensionBuild - 28-Feb-18 @ 12:25 PM
Would be grateful for some advice here. We have a house with an extension converted from a garage to a separate lounge and a kitchen at the back done by the previous owner.The extension has a separate entrance from inside the porch.Now the Valuation officer is coming to inspect to check its in the correct CT band.Would the Valuation Office Agency rate this extension as "self-contained" when there is no shower/bathroom?Would they consider it possible to be "let" separately?
Apple - 26-Feb-18 @ 11:38 PM
MP - Your Question:
Hi, I've just bought a house with a 'granny annex' which is the converted double garage, it was only converted 18 months ago. The annex has got a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen and is accessible from the house hall way, as well as another external door. I've received a letter saying that we're going to have to pay a second council tax for this annex (band A). I've done a bit of research and although this was a surprise, it meets all the criteria of being charged 2 council taxes. We're not planning to use the annex as a separate dwelling, just a guest room and bathroom, so we're happy to remove the kitchen (or the cooker and feed cable as a minimum) and use it as a store room. Is this enough to make the house a single dwelling again and therefore pay just 1 council tax for the house as a whole. Any advice would be greatly accepted. Thanks

Our Response:
In general it will be exempt from council tax if it's not occupied and cannot be let separately from the main property (without breaching planning laws). So if it's just a room and a bathroom (i.e no kitchen), we don't see how it can be let out separately and therfefore shouldn't be charged extra council tax. Your local Valuation Office Agency should be able to clarify this for you.
ExtensionBuild - 19-Feb-18 @ 12:36 PM
Hi,I've just bought a house with a 'granny annex' which is the converted double garage, it was only converted 18 months ago.The annex has got a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen and is accessible from the house hall way, as well as another external door.I've received a letter saying that we're going to have to pay a second council tax for this annex (band A).I've done a bit of research and although this was a surprise, it meets all the criteria of being charged 2 council taxes.We're not planning to use the annex as a separate dwelling, just a guest room and bathroom, so we're happy to remove the kitchen (or the cooker and feed cable as a minimum) and use it as a store room.Is this enough to make the house a single dwelling again and therefore pay just 1 council tax for the house as a whole.Any advice would be greatly accepted.Thanks
MP - 18-Feb-18 @ 4:44 PM
Rich - Your Question:
I am thinking of buying a house which currently has an annexe which is used as a separate living area for an elderly relative. If we bought the house we would knock through to make it part of the main house removing the separate kitchen. Would this then remove it from being a separate annexe with a separate council tax bill?

Our Response:
If the annex forms part of a single (the main) property and cannot be let separately from the main property it should be exempt from council tax.
ExtensionBuild - 16-Jan-18 @ 3:37 PM
I am thinking of buying a house which currently has an annexe which is used as a separate living area for an elderly relative. If we bought the house we would knock through to make it part of the main house removing the separate kitchen. Would this then remove it from being a separate annexe with a separate council tax bill?
Rich - 14-Jan-18 @ 9:15 AM
Please may I have your further advice having answered your questions asked on 28th Nov. Many thanks, MR
MilRob - 22-Dec-17 @ 10:27 AM
Grateful for your further advice, after answering your questions. Thanks & regards, MR
MilRob - 6-Dec-17 @ 1:59 PM
Our Response: > Has the council assessed the annex as being liable for separate council tax? Yes. It was assessed for CT separately by Council at the time that the conversion was completed. But we believe that we should have appealed this at the time. > Is there a discount for unoccupation or family in the main house using it as part of the main living accommodation? After the tenant vacated around May 2017 the Council gave a 1 month discount as unoccupied. We could argue that it is now being used as overflow living accommodation and storage by our family. Thanks your quick reply. MR
MilRob - 1-Dec-17 @ 5:58 PM
MilRob - Your Question:
Grateful for your advice. I wish to appeal the assessment to Council Tax of our annexe on the following grounds.• It is an integral part of the main house. It is a converted roof space above integral garage & other outbuildings accessed internally from the main house. It has its own stairway leading to its own front door.• All its utilities are accessed via the services provided and paid for by the main house; including water, sewerage, electricity and heating oil.• Access to its front door from the road is only possible over ground and security controls exercised from the main house.The conversion was completed in late 2007, and was immediately let to a ‘housekeeper’ of the main house. The architect did not discuss with us whether its assessment to CT was in any way subject to interpretation or negotiation with the Council.The annexe has been vacant since June this year, after offering the whole property for sale, as yet unsuccessfully. Changes in the recent Budget (and uncertain prospects for a quick sale!) mean we should try & get the Council to agree to drop the assessment.Please could you advise what criteria Councils use to determine whether CT is assessable on such annexes, whether there may be other matters I may have missed which may help our case.Many thanks, MR

Our Response:
Has the council assessed the annex as being liable for separate council tax? Is there a discount for unoccupation or family in the main house using it as part of the main living accommodation? Sorry you need to make that clear before we can respond effectively.
ExtensionBuild - 28-Nov-17 @ 3:20 PM
Grateful for your advice.I wish to appeal the assessment to Council Tax of our annexe on the following grounds. • It is an integral part of the main house. It is a converted roof space above integral garage & other outbuildings accessed internally from the main house. It has its own stairway leading to its own front door. • All its utilities are accessed via the services provided and paid for by the main house; including water, sewerage, electricity and heating oil. • Access to its front door from the road is only possible over ground and security controls exercised from the main house. The conversion was completed in late 2007, and was immediately let to a ‘housekeeper’ of the main house. The architect did not discuss with us whether its assessment to CT was in any way subject to interpretation or negotiation with the Council. The annexe has been vacant since June this year, after offering the whole property for sale, as yet unsuccessfully. Changes in the recent Budget (and uncertain prospects for a quick sale!) mean we should try & get the Council to agree to drop the assessment. Please could you advise what criteria Councils use to determine whether CT is assessable on such annexes, whether there may be other matters I may have missed which may help our case. Many thanks, MR
MilRob - 27-Nov-17 @ 7:29 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments