Planning issues – buying a property in Ireland

Cosgrove Gaynard Solicitors

Recently we have come across a large number of properties with what Conveyancing Solicitors would call “Planning Issues”.

Planning issues – buying a property in Ireland

Recently we have come across a large number of properties with what Conveyancing Solicitors would call “Planning Issues”. We again reiterate how important is it to have an experienced property expert act for you when you are buying a property. These issues, if undiscovered when buying a property, can cause untold financial and emotional stress down the line.  Whilst a solicitor should have adequate insurance cover to deal with an issue they missed, it is better to have the correct property solicitor employed from the beginning to avoid this scenario. We at Cosgrove Gaynard Solicitors handle a large volume of property transactions (even in the recession!) and our extensive expertise in property law and conveyancing is renowned.

Recent planning issues we have encountered:

  • Garage built at the same time as construction of the dwelling however no planning documentation in place for the construction of a garage. An architects Certificate was eventually provided to confirm the garage was an exempt development which was sufficient to rectify this issue and perfect title.


  • An extension was built onto a house a number of years ago. There was no planning obtained and the development would not have fallen into the category of “exempt development”  due to the size of the remaining garden , therefore an architect would not be able to certify this. The vendors refused to obtain retention permission and the purchasers decided not to go through with this issue on title remaining.


  • Velux windows to the front of the property. These required planning permission and contracts were signed subject to retention permission being obtained by the vendor.


  • Bathroom extension to a property. Again no planning documentation existed in relation to this extension. The vendors architect was able to certify that the works were exempt and therefore this was again sufficient to rectify title for this property.


Often, the position is that the works fall into the category of being an “exempt development” and any issue regarding title is rectified by the vendor obtaining a certificate of exempt development from an Architect. It is important that this is discovered and requested prior to the signing of contracts though to ensure that a. the vendor covers the cost of the architect and b. the development is actually exempt as certified by a qualified architect/ engineer.

If the development is not exempt, then the only clear way to rectify the planning issue is for the vendor to obtain retention permission. The vendor may offer a declaration to confirm that the development was built over 7 years ago however it is important to note that this does not rectify the position. It merely confirms that the works were built over 7 years ago and therefore the relevant local authority cannot issue enforcement proceedings to remedy or indeed even remove the extension. Some cash buyers may be happy to buy on foot of this declaration however if bank finance is sought, the bank will usually not accept such a qualification on title. Again this is something our experienced Property Solicitors will guide you through with ease.

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