New PDR for residential buildings offers an opportunity for freeholders to get the sector moving after Covid

The Government has announced a plan to expand Permitted Development Rights (PDR), allowing residential blocks to be expanded by up to two storeys without prior planning permission. With the PDR for residential buildings set to come into force in August, freeholders have a great opportunity to kickstart the property and construction sectors after coronavirus.

Post-Covid opportunities

Covid-19 has forced the entire sector to adapt rapidly to stem the spread of the virus. As I wrote recently, the residential sector is coming out of hibernation after three long months in hiatus. New ideas about how to market and sell properties will be needed. But, for freeholders, it is important to consider ways to take advantage of the opportunities already in play.

The new PDR allows residential apartment blocks over three storeys tall to be expanded by a further two storeys without planning permission. In effect, this gives freeholder the ability to significantly increase their existing assets without needing to go through lengthy and costly new planning applications.

The recent announcement by the Government offers freeholders a first tentative step into the brave new world of post-Covid. As we begin to emerge from lockdown, we must ensure that we maximise any and all opportunities.

Dual housing crisis

The housing shortage has existed in this country for years, with limited substantial effort being made to rectify it. In recent months, this crisis has been compounded by Covid-19. In order to respond to this dual housing crisis, there is a need to move quickly and efficiently to build affordable new houses. This sentiment was elucidated in a recent speech by the Prime Minister, who pointed to the housing sector’s role in getting the UK’s economy back on its feet.

The new PDR enables freeholders to do this by removing limits on block expansions, meaning more residential properties can be created quickly and easily. Likewise, by avoiding the need to build new developments, the PDR provides freeholders with a greener and more environmentally friendly way of increasing housing.


When embarking on a new development, it is of course important to make certain considerations. Any redevelopments will inconvenience top floor leaseholders and tenants in the short term. Measures should be taken to prevent the disruption caused or, if disruption is unavoidable, alternative arrangements should be made available.

Furthermore, current top floor flats might lose some value in redevelopment. It is important to have these conversations with leaseholders and tenants early to explain the situation.

There are also strong benefits to this new announcement that will help both freeholders and leaseholders. Old roofs will be fixed with no cost to the leaseholders and lifts replaced. Likewise, construction work will provide freeholders the opportunity to carry out other important maintenance work.


Of course, this new PDR only offers us with a first glimpse into the post-Covid property sector. But it is increasingly clear the Government intends to stimulate the economy through construction. While freeholders must continue to search for new and innovative ways to adapt to the new normal, the PDR also offers a promising first step as we move out of lockdown.

Written by Israel Moskovitz,

“New PDR for residential buildings offers an opportunity for freeholders to get the sector moving after Covid” first appeared on my Medium profile.

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