Question: My wife is nagging me to build a treehouse in the garden for our grandchildren.

She is adamant we can knock one together ourselves or buy one ready made, and says we won’t need any consent from authorities. I’m not so sure about that.

Is there anything we need to be aware of before we start?

Answer: Treehouses can vary hugely in design and size and clearly you can spend as much or as little as you wish.

Whatever type you decide upon, you should check your title deeds to ensure there are no restrictive covenants prohibiting the installation of such a structure on your property.  

Although it is possible to make certain alterations to property without planning permission, in general it is needed for most treehouses.

If your property is listed you may also need listed building consent.

Your local planning officers are likely to take into account whether your treehouse will have an impact on your neighbour’s privacy — for example, the treehouse may overlook their garden or allow you to look through their windows into their home.

Remember that applying for planning permission will add to the cost of your treehouse.

There will be an application fee payable to your local council and you will probably wish to employ an architect or surveyor to draw up the necessary plans.

These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor.

If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, email or write to Legal Solutions, Homes & Property, Evening Standard, 2 Derry Street, W8 5EE. Questions cannot be answered individually, but we will try to feature them here.

Fiona McNulty is a solicitor specialising in residential property.



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