Listed buildings

Listed Buildings UK

If you own, or are planning to own, a particularly old property, there could be a chance that it is considered a listed building. If this is the case, there are some important rules and laws you need to be aware of.

What is a listed building?

If a building is deemed to have special architectural or historic importance or interest, then it is likely on the National Heritage List for England, Historic Environment Scotland’s list of buildings, the list of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest for Wales or the Northern Ireland Buildings Database.

Since all of these are essentially a ‘list’ of buildings of historic or architectural significance, they are called listed buildings.

Grades of listed buildings

In England and Wales, the grades of listing are usually found in the following order, starting with buildings of the highest significance:

  • Grade I (highest)
  • Grade II*
  • Grade II

In Scotland the grades represent buildings that are an example of a period, building type or style, starting from the most outstanding example:

  • Category A (highest)
  • Category B
  • Category C

In Northern Ireland, the grading is not statutory, but you still must apply to your local council for Listed Building consent. The system focusses on buildings of national importance, to those of local importance in terms of period and style.

  • Grade A (highest)
  • Grade B+
  • Grade B1
  • Grade B2

Higher grades are usually rarer and come with more restrictions.

Owning a listed building

If you’ve bought a listed building, then you will need consent before you alter the property in any way. Depending on what grade your listed building falls under, there will likely be more controls or restrictions on what you can change.

Listing usually applies to the whole building, including the interior, but it can also cover additions or extensions to the property, or structures and fixtures attached to the property.

Finding a listed building

Depending on where you are in the UK, there are different online tools to search for listed buildings and to find out if the property you own is listed too. Click the list next to the country your building is located in.

Altering a listed building

Changes to a property usually require planning permission from your local authority, but listed buildings can require ‘listed consent’ too. What you plan on changing to the property and the property’s listed grade tends to affect what you will get permission for.

NOTE: Altering your property without the proper permission is against the law, can lead to large fines and affect your ability to sell the property.

You need to go through a Planning Portal to process your application, it is recommended you apply for planning permission and listed consent at the same time. If you are unsure about what to do next, contact your local authority.

You can find the different planning portals for the UK below, to start your application for planning permission and listed consent, and for advice on your application:

Getting permission to alter a listed building

Always contact your local authority first. They are ultimately the ones who will grant you permission and they may offer advice on your application for it to have a higher chance of being approved.

If your Local Authority has a Conservation Officer, they are a valuable point of contact for advice, as they are experts on how historic assets can be preserved and can recommend how to alter your property whilst retaining its heritage.

If changes to your property or land may affect a site’s archaeology, a County Archaeologist may be consulted to determine how your plans should progress. Contacting one yourself can result in advice on your plans and how to ensure they are more likely to be approved.

You might also wish to consult a specialist such as a Conservation Architect, who specialise in historic buildings and their conservation and can ensure that any plans made to alter a listed building fall in line with what is more likely to be given permission.

Choose the right estate agent

Use our Find an Expert tool to search for an NAEA Propertymark Protected agent near you. You may want to contact several agents and ask them if they have experience dealing with listed buildings. A good agent can advise you on selling your listed property or let you know what to be aware of if you are buying one.

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Useful Links

For more information on listed buildings and advice, use the links below.


Historic England


Historic Environment



Northern Ireland

Department for Communities



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