Levy exemption to unblock thousands of self-build homes

Up to three thousand shelved self build projects could go forward over the coming months as a direct result of the exemption from Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) that came into effect this week.

The CIL exemption for self builders was confirmed by the DCLG as part of revised CIL regulations and will apply to new homes that are owner-occupied and built or commissioned by individuals, families and groups of self builders for their own use.

According to the National Self Build Association (NaSBA), around one in eight self build projects has been mothballed over the last two years due to the impact of the new charge.

‘So we anticipate the exemption will have a significant impact on self build starts, with 2,000 to 3,000 homes coming off the shelf, and starting on site in the next few months,’ said NaSBA chairman Ted Stevens.

Under the new rules, self builders (and custom builders’ clients) can apply for a CIL exemption using a Declaration and Commencement form, and must then wait for an acknowledgment from the local authority.

NaSBA, which has produced a simple guide to the process, is warning that any preliminary construction work in advance of a confirmation of exemption, even digging foundations, can jeopardise the CIL relief.

Extensions and family annexes over a certain size will also be exempt from the levy, and from April they will no longer potentially attract a Council Tax surcharge.

Self builders are still facing Section 106 demands in some areas, although the government has indicated that it is minded to exempt these charges too – a consultation is planned.

Meanwhile developers’ lobby the British Property Federation has repeated its warnings that the new regulations, despite provisions to avoid misuse, may encourage ‘gaming and devious practices’ among developers offering pseudo self build to avoid charges.

Posted on Thursday 27th February 2014