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Check if you need planning permission

Apply for a certificate of lawfulness

We can confirm if you don't need planning permission.

You can apply for a Certificate of Lawful Use or Development, also known as a Certificate of Lawfulness, when you want to know if:

  • your proposed works don't need planning permission and are lawful (allowed) 
  • any works you have carried out in the past were lawful 
  • an existing use of land or buildings is lawful

Certificate of Lawfulness for proposed work

To apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness for proposed work, we suggest you seek advice from a professional agent or architect. In addition completing and submitting to your application form you will need to:

  • Provide a location plan to identify clearly the site which is the subject of the application. This should be a scale of 1:1250 or 1:2500 (or larger), showing the position of the site in relation to at least two named roads and surrounding buildings and a north point shown. The site must be edged clearly with a red line.
  • State the existing use and use class of the land at the date of your application (or when the land is not in use at that date, the purpose for which it was last used) and the use class you consider applicable to the proposed use and/or provide a description of the proposed works or operations for which you seek a certificate. The Scottish Government has published information on use classes.
  • Submit evidence verifying the information included in your application, such as supporting information that you consider relevant to your application. This will include a site plan, and elevation and floor layout drawings as appropriate.
  • Provide a statement setting out your interest in the land, the name and address of any other person known to have an interest in the land and whether any such other person has been notified of the application.
  • Where your application specifies two or more uses, operations or other matters, the plan which accompanies the application is to indicate to which part of the land each use, operation or matter relates.
  • Pay the fee. For most householder applications for confirmation of proposed work, the fee will be £150.

This certificate has legal status and is of particular use if you are selling your property, as you will usually be asked to provide evidence that any work you have carried out is lawful and does not need planning permission.

If you apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness and you do need planning permission, you will be asked to change this application to a planning application and pay the additional fee required.

You have the right to appeal our decision on your Certificate of Lawfulness. Information on how to appeal is available from the Scottish Government.

A building warrant may also be required for changes to your home. For further information please visit our building standards pages. 

You can get impartial advice on all planning matters from Planning Aid Scotland, the internet, or a professional agent/architect.

Page last updated:
21 Dec 2023

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