There’s been so many questions on this topic I’ve set up an online planning service where you can ask your specific question and get an answer for €49.99 (inc VAT)
Planning Myth #3 – If it’s up more than 7 years you don’t need planning permission
Where does this come from?
The Planning and Development Act 2000 includes what is called a Statute of Limitations on enforcement orders.
This Statute of Limitations means that if you don’t have planning permission the state has a maximum of 7 years to issue enforcement from when you have started the development.
Below is the xact text from the Act:
(6) (a) An application to the High Court or Circuit Court for an order under this section shall not be made—
(i) in respect of a development where no permission has been granted, after the expiration of a period of 7 years from the date of the commencement of the development, or
(ii) in respect of a development for which permission has been granted under Part III, after the expiration of a period of 7 years beginning on the expiration, as respects the permission authorising the development, of the appropriate period (within the meaning of section 40 ) or, as the case may be, of the appropriate period as extended under section 42 .
It does not mean that you have been automatically been granted planning permission if you can manage to keep it quiet for 7 years!
What effectively does this mean?
1. You won’t be able to sell your property as a solicitor will be looking for the correct title on the property which includes a compliance with planning permission certificate. I was asked to do such a certificate for a property constructed in the 1970’s and it was patently clear that the property did not comply with its original planning permission. The sale was held up by the solicitor until a retention planning permission was granted; which incidentally is not a foregone conclusion.
2. You will not be able to make another planning permission until the problem is sorted; ie with a retention planning permission – again not a given.
Other problems beyond the scope of this post also exist.
So in summary, the state (through the council) cannot issue enforcement proceedings but your project is still unauthorised development and is effectively worthless until the matter is rectified.
All advice online is remote from the situation and cannot be relied upon as a defence or support – in and of itself – should legal action be taken. Competent legal and building professionals should be asked to advise in Real Life with rights to inspect and issue reports on the matters at hand.