Village Cross, High Street, Stanton
Village Cross, High Street, Stanton, Gloucestershire © Historic England DP139043
Village Cross, High Street, Stanton, Gloucestershire © Historic England DP139043

Survey of Listed Building Owners and Occupiers

This series of surveys aims to build Historic England's and the heritage sector’s understanding of the challenges and opportunities of owning and occupying a listed building amongst large groups of heritage custodians.

2022 Survey of Listed Building Owners and Occupiers

In 2022 Historic England commissioned BMG Research to conduct a survey of residents of listed buildings and conservation areas.

1,678 listed building owners/occupiers shared their views on a range of topics, including repair and maintenance, retrofit and planning regulations. A comparison survey of 133 residents in conservation areas was also conducted.

The survey used a random sample of residential addresses selected from a list provided by Historic England. Respondents received an invitation letter with a link to the online survey and a freephone number for those who preferred to complete the survey over the telephone.

The survey ran from 11 February – 16 March 2022.

Summary of key findings:

  • Living in a listed building can foster feelings of pride and local identity. 89% of residents said they feel proud of their home and agreed it is important to the character of their local area.
  • The majority (86%) look after their homes by keeping on top of necessary repair and maintenance works.
  • Builders and craftspeople are a key source of information on repair and maintenance of historic homes. They would be the first port of call for just over a third (34%) of residents.
  • Whilst most look after their homes, many do encounter challenges, with just over half (57%) agreeing that it is difficult to afford the maintenance of their home.
  • 90% of listed building residents said they were concerned about climate change, including 57% who were very concerned.
  • Keeping warm in the winter is difficult for just under a quarter (23%) of residents, more so for renters and in more deprived areas. Nearly a third (32%) said that they had a very or fairly big problem with damp, condensation or mould.
  • Many listed homes already have what can be seen as simpler and lower-cost efficiency measures. More complex and higher cost measures such as solar panels and wall and floor insulation have the lowest uptake. There are still many relatively simple and cost-effective measures that could be adopted, such as draft proofing and shutters/thermal curtains, whom only 38% and 41% report having used.
  • Finances were identified as most important barriers to retrofit, including the upfront costs (45%) and a perceived lack of funds such as grants (47%).
  • 31% and 33% of listed building residents respectively said that not knowing enough about retrofit and its complexity would put them off.
  • 51% agreed that it would be difficult/ very difficult to find the right professionals (architects/ engineers) to advise on retrofit, compared to 39% of conservation area residents.
  • An overwhelming majority of residents (81%) support Listed Building Consent, but satisfaction with the process has declined (down to 35% from 51% in 2017).

2018 Survey of Listed Building Commercial Occupiers

In 2018, Historic England commissioned a national survey of businesses occupying listed properties. This is the third in a series of surveys about the contemporary ownership and use of listed buildings, but is the first to focus on business occupiers. The survey is supported by Ecclesiastical, a specialist insurer of heritage and faith properties, fine arts, charities, educational establishments and private clients.

The survey was conducted by QA Research and included 509 telephone surveys undertaken during Autumn 2018, complemented with 15 in-depth qualitative interviews with a cross-section of businesses.

The research objectives were to:

  • Identify the benefits and issues or challenges of working in and occupying a historic building
  • Investigate experiences and opinions of the Listed Building consent process
  • Establish perceptions on business risks and insurance choices
  • Add to the existing evidence base from previous research

To accompany the main report QA Research also produced a one page infographic outlining some of the key findings.

2017 Survey of Listed Building Owners

The 2017 survey of owners of listed residential buildings was issued to a total sample of 10,200 listed building owners through a covering letter and postal survey. Interlocking quotas were used for region and listing grade to ensure sufficient sample size for sub group analysis. The number of respondents who completed the main survey was 1,345, which represents a 12.8% response rate. The numbers were sufficient to explore the response differences by region and grade, which are reported in the full report. The research also included a survey of owners of buildings in conservation areas to act as a comparison for the data.

The focus of the 2017 survey is on:

  • Listed buildings owners' experiences of the planning system
  • Experience of insuring listed buildings
  • Repair and maintenance: types or works undertaken and by whom
  • Owners’ sources of information and advice
  • Work and commercial activity at the property

The survey of listed building owners 2017 was sponsored by Ecclesiastical Insurance.

To accompany the main report a two page infographic document outlining some of the key findings was produced.

Listed building owners survey 2015

This year's survey builds on evidence gathered in 2015 as to the experiences of listed residential building owners.

Explore findings from the 2015 survey:

Anyone interested in this should contact the Social and Economic Research team (contact details below).

Free guide for owners

A Guide for Owners of Listed Buildings has been prepared by Historic England to answer some of the most commonly asked questions by those who live in or care for listed buildings.

Adala Leeson

Head of Socio-Economic Analysis and Evaluation