Short term letting of domestic outbuilding changes use to dwelling

An inspector upheld enforcement action alleging a material change of use of a former domestic garage to a dwelling in London after hearing evidence of short term rental use.

The detached former garage had permission for alteration to a garden room. Internally the building had been arranged with a sitting room, a kitchen area equipped with units, a sink, a refrigerator and a dishwasher, but no oven or hob, and a separate bathroom. An internal staircase provided access to a mezzanine floor.

While the use of the outbuilding as accommodation for family and friends was held by the inspector to be part and parcel of the residential use of the main house, regular short term lets had changed the character of the use to a material extent. Evidence showed the accommodation had been let through an agent, the particulars including 51 testimonials that suggested more than casual use, and pictures of a microwave oven suggested the accommodation satisfied the Gravesham court case test that a dwelling house should have the facilities for day-to-day private domestic existence. Despite a shared curtilage and services, the inspector found as a matter of fact and degree that the building had the distinctive quality of a dwelling house. The inspector upheld the enforcement notice and requirement to remove the kitchen but considered other alterations to be excessive.

Inspector: D H Brier; Written representations

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