Risky renovators: Homeowners avoid getting permission for building work

03 April 2017

  • 15% of homeowners are unsure if they got the correct permissions for their home improvements
  • Of these, 29% said they risked it because they knew they’d get away with it
  • Further 20% of homeowners didn’t let their insurers know about the changes
  • Over half (57%) of UK homeowners say they’ve had extensive work done on their properties and of these, almost a fifth (15%) are unsure if they got the correct permissions when doing so, according to a new study released today by Co-op Insurance.*

Of the UK homeowners unsure if they got the correct consent for their building work which included extensions, conservatories, loft conversions and garages:

  • A fifth (19%) said they didn’t know they needed to
  • Over a tenth (14%) said it didn’t cross their minds
  • A tenth (9%) said they didn’t bother as they thought it would cost them money

Furthermore, with recent Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) data revealing that home buying activity declined in January, it’s evident that homeowners are staying put and investing in expansion of their properties rather than moving out.**

However, the Insurance provider’s study reveals a growing trend of homeowners conducting building work without relevant authorisations. Two fifths (43%) are planning on future building work and of these, a fifth (18%) would risk not getting relevant consent.

When delving into the reasons UK homeowners would opt out of getting the relevant permissions for their humble abodes:

  • Almost a third (29%) say it’s because they know they’ll get away with it
  • A quarter (25%) would go ahead without permissions as doing so would slow the work down
  • Over a quarter (27%) said it would increase their costs overall
  • A fifth (19%) don’t see the importance of getting permissions

The study also highlights that women are more likely than men to get the relevant consent for their buildings work with just 7% of women opting out of getting consent verses 9% of men. Furthermore, a fifth (20%) of UK homeowners said they opted against letting their insurers know about the work they were having done and a further tenth (13%) can’t say for sure either way.

Caroline Hunter, Head of Home Insurance for Co-op Insurance commented:

“It’s really important that homeowners get the correct permissions and let their insurers know when extensive building work such as conservatories, extensions and loft conversions are taking place. That way, if anything was to go wrong with the property, either whilst the building work is ongoing or once it’s completed, it will be covered by their insurer.”

Media Contact

Emily Penkett
Press and Media Relations Manager
Email: Emily.penkett@coop.co.uk Mobile: 07738621201 Follow us: @coopukpress

*Research was conducted by Atomik Research on behalf of the Co-op in March 2017 among 1500 UK homeowners who had extensive building work done on their properties.

** CML data from March 2017: https://www.cml.org.uk/news/press-releases/january-2017-monthly-lending-trends/