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  • Writer's pictureJoana Wheeler

Renovating your home: when is (and is not) necessary to ask permission from the local council author

People's daily lives were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic in several ways. For instance, they started spending (much) more time at home because of remote working, confinement, etc. Some people even used public assistance to improve the efficiency of their dwellings. But is it possible to renovate your home without getting the local Council authorities approval?

A topic that frequently causes disputes between neighbours was mentioned at most of the recent condominium meeting. Conservation projects and improvements, both inside the apartments and in the communal areas, are frequently met with opposition, especially when it comes to the requirement for council permits.

Although the circumstance described are common, there are guidelines for carrying out tasks at home or in the building. We are confident that by following these guidelines, all issues—including those involving council permits—will be resolved.

When council authorization is not necessary.

  • The work does not entail altering the height of the home or its floors, the shape of the facades or the roof, or requiring destruction that would put the stability of the portion or building in doubt (does not impact pillars, beams, slabs or support walls). Therefore, we suggest that you always speak with a professional;

  • Paint the inside of the house (apartment) and replace the kitchen's tiles;

  • Arrange the roof or install solar panels if, at the end of the work, the roof is in the same condition as its construction and the solar panels do not exceed the building's roof area or its height by one metre;

  • Close a balcony - In many municipalities, it is necessary to have a council licence, but in others, it only requires making a prior notification. Consult your local Council to see their rules and regulations. The condominium must approve the work by a majority of two thirds because the building is on horizontal property and its architectural line may be affected. The same holds true for placing barriers on balconies.

When council authorization is necessary.

  • Change the building's original colour;

  • Change the building's façade, for example, by adding extensions to the building (painting the same tone does not require formalities).

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