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Add value to your home with an annexe

When shown around some of the most desirable country houses on the market in England, estate agents will often refer to the top selling features which entice homeowners into an irresistible offer. From the architectural elegance, to the trimmings including; a swimming pool, acres of land for the children and dogs to roam and a delightful country kitchen where the family can come together.

However, one of the latest features to be considered high on a list of proprieties for prospective homeowners is a home annexe; also known as the ‘granny annexe’. We’re not suggesting that an annexe is only for ‘grannies’, but the idea is to create more space within the boundaries of the home, with an element of separation and privacy and most importantly keeping out of each other’s hair!

The definition of an annexe is:

‘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.’

An annexe is an important way for those who live in it to have a modicum of independence. If you’re struggling to move out, with the prices of property rising, an annexe may be your best option; and the easiest way to enjoy living outside of the family home. An annexe is also a fantastic way to have elderly relatives move closer to home, without being on top of each other. The annexe is rising in the hierarchy of priorities and can also be the perfect guest house for family or friends who visit. The general rule of thumb is the bigger the house, the greater demand for an annexe, as commented by Nick Ashe of Property Vision. An annexe can generate revenue as a holiday let as well as an opportunity to boost the value of the main property.

When converting an old outbuilding into an annexe, the cost can be as little or as large as you wish. Some annexes’ can cost as little as £150 per square foot and will therefore cost as little as £100,000 to convert a space that is around 600 sq. ft. into a two bedroom property.

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So what planning permissions do you need?

Each property will have different rules and regulations as issued by their local council. The details of building an annexe may need planning permission, as if the annexe is to be built as an extension of the home, attached to the house and therefore accessible from the inside, or not more than 5 metres from the house, you will need to ask for planning permission as it’s considered an extension of the home.

However, if the annexe is an outbuilding that is entirely separate to the house, other regulations such as fire safety routes and noise/sound proofing will need to comply. It is also worth noting, if a resident is to live solely in the annexe, which has a separate door for access, that person may be subject to pay additional council tax. There are exceptions for those who are relatives and those who are dependent, and those who are aged 65 and over.

Additionally, if an annexe is built with the sole purpose for business, then it will definitely need to be applied for with the local council. However, there are certain rules that must be adhered to:

• not on the site of a house that is a listed building
• the annexe must not take up more than half of the area of the land around the original house
• it must not be for business use or parking
• The annexe must be under 3 metres tall, with a flat roof. Or alternatively, it can be 4 metres high with a pitched roof
• it cannot be built close to a motorway, road or footpath – ideally in the garden
• an annexe must not be built in an area of outstanding natural beauty, conservation area or national park


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Feature image credit: mubus7/Shutterstock

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