Image of a shopping street in Weymouth showing shops and to let signs.
Shopping street in Weymouth. © Historic England
Shopping street in Weymouth. © Historic England


Historic buildings lend themselves to a wide variety of commercial uses, from shops, offices and other businesses, to rented homes and flats. As a landlord owning listed or historic property please follow our guidance on:

If you wish to carry out work to a listed building, you may need to get permission.

Maintenance and refurbishment

A well-maintained property will reduce the risk of having to undertake major repairs and make it easier to keep the property occupied. When making changes or improvements it is important to be aware of some general principles for making alterations to older buildings.

Understanding the construction and materials of the property will help you to understand what alterations and types of work are suitable.

Certain repairs and alterations may require different permissions or need to comply with building regulations. We recommend that you understand who you need to contact about proposed changes and who can offer you further advice. See our Who to Contact page for more information.

Energy performance certificates

Before marketing your property to prospective tenants, you would usually need to provide an energy performance certificate (EPC). For a listed building you don't need an EPC. To find out if your building is listed please visit the National Heritage List of England.

If you do need to commission an EPC, or have received one for an older property, we have produced guidance for owners and managers of historic buildings

Green Deals

If your building is considered for a Green Deal plan, you will need to get an EPC even if the building falls into one of the exempted categories. For more information please see our page on Green Deals.

Minimum energy efficiency standards

Under the Minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES), as of April 2018 landlords must have a minimum energy performance rating of E on their EPC for new lets. The rule also comes into force for existing tenancies in 2020.

This will, however, not apply to building types that are already exempt from requiring an EPC. For more information on these changes please visit GOV.UK.

Houses in multiple occupation

If you have permission to use a listed building as a house in multiple occupation (HMO), it is important to note that you will still need permission, such as listed building consent, for any changes that may affect its character. If your property is in a conservation area there may be controls (Article 4 Directions) which restrict the work you can normally do without planning permission.

The government has produced a guidance booklet for landlords and managers of HMOs, which provides further information.

Vacant properties

There may be times when your building is unoccupied. This can increase the risks of damage and loss of significance, which ultimately impacts on the property’s rental appeal and market value. Our vacant historic buildings guide details how to protect a building’s fabric and to ensure it can be brought back into use quickly.