What are the possibilities of a zoned property?

You wish to convert an old farmhouse into a B&B. Or you wish to purchase a quietly located property in outlying areas. In this case, there is a risk that it is a zoned building. However, you cannot simply carry out all the works you want on such buildings. This is subject to strict restrictions and conditions. The present article explains the possibilities of a zone alien property.

What is a zoned property?

A zoned dwelling is a dwelling located in a zone where housing is in principle not allowed. These are usually agricultural, forest, park or nature areas. This situation arose because people did not start dividing land into different destinations via regional plans until the late 1970s. Houses built before this period were not always located in the correct zone as a result. It may also concern buildings that were initially located in the correct zone, but whose use was later changed. Think, for example, of a dwelling near a farm, but where the agricultural activities were later discontinued.

Thus, a zoned dwelling is not the same as an illegal dwelling. After all, an illegal dwelling is erected without a permit. This while for most zone alien dwellings, a permit is available, but these dwellings were subsequently located in another zone.

Learn more about regularising a construction violation here.

What works are possible with a zoned property?

On a zoned property, you are not allowed to do all the works you want. This is subject to certain restrictions. The possibilities for zoned buildings are laid down by law. These are the so-called zonal basic rights.

In general, the following works are allowed on a zoned property:

  • Rebuild
  • Rebuild in the same place
  • Rebuild in a changed location
  • Expand
  • Repair work in case of destruction or damage due to foreign cause
  • A limitative number of zonal function changes

Special conditions apply to each of these works. For example, in the case of conversion, the existing number of residential units may not increase. For rebuilding and extension, the volume of the rebuilt or extended dwelling is limited to a maximum of 1,000m3.

However, rebuilding and expansion are not allowed in spatially vulnerable areas or recreational areas. What constitutes spatially vulnerable area is defined by law. This includes, for example, forest or nature areas. The same applies to the limitatively listed zonal function changes. These too are not possible in spatially vulnerable areas or in recreational areas.

It is important to note that a spatial implementation plan can supplement and extend these basic rights. A spatial implementation plan can also impose a smaller maximum permitted building volume in case of rebuilding. However, a spatial implementation plan cannot provide for an expansion of the limitatively listed zonal function changes.

Are you allowed to add on to an existing house just like that?

What are the other conditions for invoking these opportunities?

To invoke the zonal basic rights, a number of other conditions also apply. These conditions apply regardless of the works one wishes to carry out (conversion, reconstruction, extension or change of function). Thus, it must be a zoned property that:

  • still exists
  • mainly licensed
  • has not yet rotted away.

To determine whether a dwelling meets these conditions, certain definitions then apply in each case in turn. For example, a house is considered to be dilapidated if it no longer meets basic stability requirements. This includes, for example, problems with the foundation or the load-bearing elements of the roof.

Find more information on the procedure to apply for an environmental permit here.

Are you considering the purchase of a zoned building?

If you are considering the purchase of a zoned building, it is best to have
check the above elements before purchasing.
Only in this way will you have sufficient security. In practice, we see
after all, often files that were submitted without prior investigation, where afterwards it turns out that there are problems with the licensed nature of the zoned property. Or that what was done with the
zoned building wants to do, is not legally possible. An amendment to the plans or the submission of an amended permit application
are then often the only option.

Sometimes even this is not possible and the only option left is to make the
zoned building to be resold. In case of problems with the licensed nature of the zoned property, this could potentially
are problematic.

Why is an urban planning study appropriate?

Are you planning to investing in a zoned property? We can assist you with your possible purchase. Please feel free to contact up with our environmental law lawyer. This way, you will avoid any problems when buying and later obtaining a licence.

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