Is the chocolate box cottage dream a privilege or a responsibility?

Have you ever driven past a chocolate box cottage or a sprawling historic house and dreamt about owning such a beautiful building? Perhaps you already own your own piece of heritage through one of these properties. While these homes are filled with character and charm, owners of listed buildings are subject to some of the most bizarre and restrictive regulations in existence.

The laws and regulations that limit what you can change about a listed property, some of which date back hundreds of years, may surprise you in their ridiculousness.

Here is just a small selection of the extraordinary problems listed buildings owners experience: If you live in the boundaries of a church, you may be liable to pay for repairs to the church as well as your home under chancel repairs laws, dating back to Henry VIII. A thatched roof will need to be replaced every few years. Be careful it isn’t made too tall or with the wrong material – you may have to take it down! Double glazing is almost always not allowed in listed properties. You need permission from the local authority to make any changes – even if you want to put a satellite dish up. Owning a listed building is up to 50% more expensive than a non-listed building yet 50% of listed property owners are in lower socio-economic groups D-E.

The bizarre rules for listed building owners are all too familiar to The Listed Property Owners’ Club. Started over twenty years ago by Peter Anslow, who bought a 17th Century Kentish barn in the 1960s, LPOC is now the UK’s only advice service dedicated to helping listed property owners. The number of restrictions can be a little daunting. However Peter’s passion for helping other owners means LPOC know it can also be a joy and privilege to own a listed building; so he created LPOC and The Listed Property Show, which take place annually in London’s Olympia and HIC Harrogate.

The club has also recently begun a progressive campaign for listed building owners. LPOC are lobbying parliament for a reduction in VAT on approved alterations to 5%, arguing for the processes to make changes to a listed property to become more streamlined, and to begin an All Party Political Group for better representation in Westminster.

For details and membership information, visit www.lpoc.co.uk/property-show or call 01795 844939.