Dealing with Listed Properties

Brighton is full of beautiful historic buildings which are very desirable because of their character and period features. Most of these are going to be listed buildings so, desirable as they may be, there can be some considerations you need to make before buying one or attempting to do work on one. There is a difference between Grade I, Grade II* and Grade II listed buildings but, unless you’re planning on buying something like the Grade I listed Royal Pavilion or the Grade II* listed Preston Manor, it is likely you will be dealing with Grade II listed status so this blog will give you information on things you need to think about when buying or renovating a Grade II listed building.

Making Changes

The reason historic or interesting buildings are listed is to prevent changes being made to them which will ruin what makes them special. Clearly, if you own one or are thinking of buying one, you will be limited in what changes you are allowed to make. That doesn’t mean changes aren’t allowed though and every listed building is different so what you can and can’t change will vary. Some buildings have restrictions around what you can do inside the property, others have restrictions related to garden walls or even the gardens themselves. You may be surprised by the changes you can make though so always check which restrictions are on the property and ask for permission from the local authority’s conservation officer before doing any work.


Maintaining listed buildings can be a complicated and expensive business. Most will have restrictions around how maintenance work is done and which materials need to be used, etc. An example of this can be walls made of historic materials like wattle and daub or, locally, bungaroosh, which will need to be repaired like for like and covered with lime-based paints and renders as they would have been originally. As such, you may require specially trained tradespeople to undertake the work.

Previous Work Done

Something your mortgage lender will be on the look for and something you should be too when you’re buying a listed building is work done on the building previously without the correct permission from the local authority. Even if you had nothing to do with this work done without permission, you would still be liable for it once you own the building. Some homeowners have been forced to remove whole extensions added without permission or put right maintenance work not carried out to the building’s specification. Mortgage providers can also refuse to lend money on properties with work done to them without the correct permission.


Because any damage done to your listed building will need to be repaired in a way that adheres to the building’s restrictions and will probably need to use specialist materials and be quite expensive, it is worth getting specialist listed building insurance to cover these extra expenses.

As a surveyor with a great deal of experience working in and around Brighton with its many listed properties, Marc can advise either would-be owners of listed buildings about the possible maintenance issues with a house they’re looking to buy or owners of listed buildings who want to make changes or repairs. Get in touch on 01273 281624 or email

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Tate Surveying Services,
Freedom Works, Unit 7 Hove Business Centre, Fonthill Road, Hove, BN3 6HA

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