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With over a quarter of a century’s experience in estate agency, Richard Cleaver*, Shouler & Son’s Head of Residential, knows the pride & pleasure homeowners of Listed properties take in their role as stewards of the finest examples of the country’s built heritage.

The definition of a Listed property is a building of ‘special architectural or historic interest’, and there are 400,000 of them in England.

All kinds of residential - or commercial - buildings qualify for Listed building status and their designation as such is protected by an Act of Parliament.

The register of Listed buildings is maintained and overseen by Historic England and its statutory guardian is the Secretary of State at the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS).

Of the 400,000 Listed buildings in England, the bulk (90 per cent) are in the Grade II category. This designation is awarded to buildings of special interest which ‘warrant every effort being made to preserve them’.

Grade II* - with the addition of a ‘star’ - indicates a particularly important building of ‘more than special interest’.

Grade I is the highest Listed designation. Just 2.5 per cent of Listed buildings come within this banding as it indicates the property is of ‘exceptional interest’.

The Listed designation applies to - and protects - the exterior and interior of the property itself as well as structures or objects fixed to the building.

It also extends to objects or structures within the ‘curtilage’ - ie the bounds of the grounds or gardens of the building.

Listed status does not apply to all old buildings, nor does it apply to old buildings exclusively.

A number of buildings constructed during the 1970s to the 1990s gained registered Listed status towards the end of the last decade.

To qualify for Listed designation is not just a matter of the age or the architectural excellence of the building. It could be that the building is an exceptional example of town planning or innovative construction methods or materials.

The building’s relevance to, or place in, the country’s social or economic historical context may also play a part in it qualifying for Listed status.

The awarding of Listed designation is to protect the country’s built heritage but not to preserve the building as a museum piece.

Far from it.

Residential, domestic properties which are Listed will always tell the story of the people who lived there at any given time in the building’s history.

It is rare these days for a privately-owned residential Listed property to come to market for mainstream sale not to have been extensively modernised inside and maintained.

Today’s owners are mindful of their obligations to comply with required standards and with the permissions of the relevant statutory authorities when they update and modernise their Listed homes.

Estate agents with Listed property instructions for sale - or to let - will always be upfront about the Grade designation and explain any prospective buyer’s, or tenant’s, obligation to live in and look after this particular slice of the country’s heritage.

*Richard Cleaver lives in a Grade II Listed cottage in the lovely Leicestershire village of Barrow upon Soar.

To find out more about Shouler & Son’s full range of residential property services, see