Building a home office: can I install an office pod in my garden and do I need planning permission to do this?

Question: I would like to install a new office pod in my garden. Do I need planning permission?

Answer: Rules relating to the construction of an outbuilding will differ depending on who your local planning authority is.

Provided that your property is not listed, in a conservation area or subject to an Article 4 Direction, an office pod would be considered a permitted development — ie not requiring planning permission — as long as it is single storey, with a maximum height of four metres at the highest point and 2.5 metres in the case of the eaves.

You should be aware that the permitted development rules do not apply to flats.

Permitted development: garden offices of only one storey up to four metres high do not need planning permission (Alamy Stock Photo)

If you own a flat with a garden then you would need to apply for planning permission before building the pod.

In addition, you should check your lease as there may well be a clause restricting your ability to make alterations or additions without the landlord’s prior consent.

If you are intending to use your pod as a permanent office, you may also need to consider whether this complies with the permitted use under the terms of your lease, as there will often be a clause requiring the property to be used for residential purposes only.

These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor.

If you have a question for Piers King, email or write to Legal Solutions, Homes & Property, Evening Standard, 2 Derry Street, W8 5EE. Questions cannot be answered individually, but we will try to feature them here.

Piers King is a solicitor in the property department of Streathers Solicitors LLP.

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