Taking a lease of an old premises or a period building? We
recommend that you find out whether the premises enjoys special
protective status under the Planning Acts as this may lead to
additional or unanticipated costs for specialised repair work and
special planning applications.
The definition of a protected structure is broader than you
might think. Just as Dublin Castle is a protected structure, you
might find that a warehouse at Dublin Docklands, an office building
on South Mall in Cork, or a retail unit on Shop Street in Galway
enjoys special protection.
Before taking a lease of a premises, a prospective tenant should
find out whether the premises is a protected structure under the
Planning and Development Act 2000 as this may have cost
implications for the tenant.
What is a protected structure?
A 'protected structure' is a structure that the local
planning authority considers to be of special interest from an
architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural,
scientific, social, or technical point of view and is included in
the planning authority's Record of Protected Structures.
How to check whether a building is a protected structure
Check the Record of Protected Structures which is maintained by
the local authority or carry out a search in the planning office of
the local authority for the area in which the premises is
Some tips to spot a protected structure
Brick facades and decorative arches
Timber sash windows and bay windows
Some known historical or architectural importance
What does protected structure designation mean for a
The tenant has a statutory obligation to ensure that a
protected structure does not become endangered through decay,
damage or neglect. This applies to the interior and exterior of the
The planning authority can compel you to carry out certain
works to protect or to restore the protected structure.
The tenant may need to obtain a grant of planning permission if
it wishes to carry out any works whether internal or external. This
requirement has a very broad application and can include even minor
works and routine maintenance to windows and railings.
The costs of repair and maintenance may be greater than those
for non-protected premises.
What should a prospective tenant do if the premises is
Find out whether a "Section 57 Declaration" has
issued from the local planning authority for the premises. A
Section 57 Declaration can save you time and money as it sets out
what works, repairs and redecoration can be carried out which would
otherwise require planning permission due to the designation as a
Arrange for a thorough survey of the premises to be carried
out, and then research and budget for the costs of specialised
repair and decorative work, and the associated planning
When negotiating the lease, clearly set out the extent of the
tenant repair obligations and the condition in which the premises
must be returned to the landlord at the end of the
Consider making an application to the planning authority for a
Section 57 Declaration with the help of your architect, if such a
Declaration has not already issued.
A prospective tenant should confirm whether a premises it is
planning to lease is a protected structure before executing the
lease. If it is a protected structure, the tenant should arrange
for a thorough survey of the premises to be carried out so that it
is aware of repairs likely to be required during the term and the
associated costs. It should then carefully negotiate the repair,
redecoration, and yield-up obligations in the lease with the
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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