Outbuildings and the law

Legal requirements for outbuildings

The legal requirements which need to be met for an outbuilding will depend on what it is being used for.

If you want to use an outbuilding for sleeping accommodation

You must:

Planning helps us control how we use land, what we build and where we build it.

Building Regulations control the quality of the building’s structure and ensure it is safe for sleeping in. They cover things like:

  • foundations and floor construction
  • insulation and double glazing
  • electricity
  • drainage.

When you have completed the work to the correct standard, and it has been inspected, you will receive a certificate. Visit our Building Regulations pages for more information.

If you are converting an outbuilding for someone to live in, it’s your responsibility to ensure you have the correct permissions before allowing someone to sleep in the outbuilding.

You may also need to pay council tax on your outbuilding.

If you do not have the correct permissions

We can take enforcement action against you if you are allowing someone to live in an outbuilding without the correct permissions.

Property licensing

If you create self-contained accommodation in your shed or outbuilding, you may need to apply for a rental license. Check if you will need to apply for a rental licence by creating an account on our online property licensing service.

Visit our property licensing pages for more information.

If you do not want to use your outbuilding for sleeping accommodation

Visit the Planning Portal website for a planning guide and a visual walk-through of the limits and conditions applied to outbuildings.

Remember, you must meet all the limits and conditions for a development to be permitted. It is your responsibility to ensure that they are. If you are in doubt, contact our Planning team for advice.