Lawful Development Certificate Guide

If you want to be certain that the existing use of a building is lawful for planning purposes or that your proposal does not require planning permission you can apply for a lawful development certificate. It is not compulsory but there may be times when you need one to confirm that the use, operation or activity named in it is lawful for planning control purposes. 

The process can be used to confirm that a change of use which is subject of a prior approval application can lawfully be implemented, as the prior approval process does not confirm this. 


There are two types of certificate, one which determines the lawfulness of an existing use or development and a second certificate which may be used to determine the lawfulness of a proposed use or development.

You can apply for a Lawful Development Certificate for an existing use, operation or activity in breach of a planning condition if you wish to find out whether:   
  • the existing use of buildings or other land is lawful;
  • operations that have been carried out are lawful (eg building works);
  • failure to comply with a condition or limitation attached to a planning permission is lawful.

You can apply for a Lawful Development Certificate for a proposed use or development if you wish to find out whether:

  • any proposed use of buildings or other land is lawful;
  • any operations proposed to be carried out are lawful (i.e. building works such as residential extensions).


The fees are shown on the application forms.

Next Steps

Apply for either a Lawful Development Certificate for an existing use or a proposed use.



Tel: 020 8313 4956

Civic Centre, Stockwell Close, Bromley, BR1 3UH