4 year rule is no more in England!


The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities have released amendments to the Levelling-up and Regeneration Act 2023 (LURA) to end the four year rule in England.

As from 25th April 2024, the period for which a potential breach of planning for residential dwellings and changes is exempt from enforcement, will go from four to ten years within England. Wales will remain as four years.


Proposed Changes ahead


Previously Completed changes under the 4 year rule


If the works are substantially complete by 25th April, then the new ten year period will not apply. The previous period of four years will continue to apply.

However, we strongly suggest that a certificate of lawfulness is submitted for any dwellings, extensions, or similar building, engineering, mining or other operations as soon as possible.

Evidence must be provided that the works were substantially complete by 25th April 2024. If they were not, then a ten year period will apply.

Note that even if works are complete by 25th April 2024, that doesn’t prevent enforcement within the next 4 years. It simply means that you can’t be enforced upon after 25th April 2028.

Planning Geek is very experienced at submitting a certificate of lawfulness – please complete our form here for a fee proposal.


Other legislative changes introduced


As part of the The Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No. 8) and Levelling-up and Regeneration Act 2023 (Commencement No. 4 and Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2024 (nice short title to the SI 428) – a few other changes are brought into effect.

Section 103 – Temporary stop notices in relation to Listed Buildings
On 25 April 2024 Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) will have the power to issue temporary stop notices, under section 103, where they believe works are being carried out to a listed building without listed building consent, or in breach of a condition set out on a listed building consent.
Section 116 – Duration of Temporary Stop Notices
Section 116 allows from 25 April 2024, the duration of temporary stop notices in England will increase from 28 days to 56 days.
This will not affect any temporary stop notice that has been issued, and not withdrawn, before 25 April 2024.
Section 117 – Enforcement Warning Notices
As from 25th April 2024, Local Planning Authorities will obtain the power to issue enforcement warning notices in England, inviting regularisation applications when it appears that a development has taken place in breach of planning control.
Section 118 – Restriction on Appeals against Enforcement Notices:
Also as from 25th April 2024. The circumstances in which an appeal against an enforcement notice can be brought on the ground that planning permission should be granted for the development (i.e. under s.174(2)(a) of the 1990 Act) in circumstances where an application for planning permission has already been made, in an attempt to regularise the breach.
These amendments do not apply to appeals against enforcement notices that were issued, and have not been withdrawn, before 25 April 2024.
Section 119 – Undue Delays in Appeals
As from 25th April 2024, the Planning Inspectorate the ability to dismiss appeals against enforcement notices and certificates of lawfulness on the grounds of undue delay by the appellant in progressing the appeal.
These changes do not apply to any enforcement appeals or appeals against a refusal to grant a certificate of lawfulness that were made before 25 April 2024.
Section 120 – Penalties for Non-Compliance
On 25 April 2024, the financial penalties for a range of planning enforcement offences will increase.
The increased fines will only apply to offences committed after 25 April 2024.
Section 122 – Consultation before applying for Planning Permission
On 25 April 2024. makes permanent the previous temporary powers to make provision for pre-application consultation in sections 61W, 61X and 61Y of the 1990 Act.
Section 124 – Powers as to Form and Content of Planning Applications
Section 124 enables the Secretary of State to make regulations that require or allow planning applications to be made and associated documents to be provided by electronic means or in accordance with particular standards in respect of those electronic means.
Section 105 – Removal of compensation for building preservation notices
On 25 July 2024 two changes will come into force
Local planning authorities will need to consult with Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England before serving a building preservation notice; and
It removes the right to claim compensation for building preservation notices in England; although this does not apply to building preservation notices that will come into effect before 25 July 2024.
The SI 452 which was made on 2nd April 2024 can be downloaded here.


Page updated: 5th April 2024