Our Tips and Advice on Buying a Listed Building

Read our blog post for our advice on buying a listed building - everything you need to know.

Our advice on buying a listed building

Listed buildings are buildings of special architectural or historic interest, which are protected throughout the UK. Buildings can be listed because of their age, rarity, architectural merit or method of construction.

Occasionally buildings are selected because it has played a part in the life of a famous person or was the scene of an important event. An interesting group of buildings, such as a model village or a square, may also be listed.

There are conservation areas in many historic towns and cities, where there are strict rules governing what can and cannot be done to the houses within them.

The older a building is, the more likely it is to be listed. There are over half a million listed buildings in the UK - around 350,000 grade I and II listed buildings in England and Wales, plus a further 175,000 in Scotland and Northern Ireland - most of which were built before 1840. They include all buildings built before 1700 that survive in anything like their original condition and most built between 1700 and 1840. After that date, the criteria become tighter with time, so that post-1945 buildings have to be exceptionally important to be listed. In England and Wales, buildings are graded to show their relative architectural or historic interest as follows:

Grade I - buildings of exceptional interest (only some 2 per cent of listed buildings are in this grade). Grade II* - particularly important buildings of more than special interest (some 4 per cent of listed buildings). Grade II - buildings of special interest warranting every effort to preserve them (over 90 per cent of listed buildings).

In Scotland and Northern Ireland Grades I, II* and II are replaced by the grades A, B and C. The task of identifying and protecting buildings in the UK is under the control of the following organisations:

England - English Heritage, 23 Saville Row, London W1S 2ET ( 020-7973 3000, www.english-heritage.org.uk).

Wales - Cadw (Welsh Heritage - Cadw means ‘keep' in Welsh), Cathays Park, Cardiff CF10 3NQ (029-2050 0200, www.cadw.gov.wales/).

Scotland - Historic Scotland, Longmore House, Salisbury Place, Edinburgh EH9 1SH (0131-668 8600, www.historic-scotland.gov.uk).

N. Ireland - Ulster Architectural Heritage Society, 66 Donegal Pass, Belfast BT7 1BU (028-9055 0213, : www.uahs.org.uk).


With thanks to BuyAssociation.