Unauthorised Development

Contact Details

Planning Enforcement Section
Planning and HR Department
County Hall, 
Marine Road, 
Dún Laoghaire, 
County Dublin

Tel: 01 2054864
Email: planningenforcement@dlrcoco.ie 

Public Planning Counter:
Monday to Friday 10am - 4pm

Enforcement of planning control is a matter for the Planning Authority, which can take action if a development does not have the required permission, or where terms of permission have not been met.

The Planning Enforcement section investigates and processes complaints in accordance with timeframes set out in the Planning & Development Act 2000, (as amended). This process is set out below. 

Unauthorised Development in relation to Planning consists of:

  •  Development which would normally require the prior grant of planning permission, where no such permission has been granted.
  • A material alteration from a planning application, where such deviation would have in itself required planning permission and where no permission has been granted for the alteration.
  • Non-compliance with a specific condition attached to a planning permission, when the permission has been implemented.
  • Development which does not meet the conditions and limitations set down to be considered exempt development under the Planning and Development Acts and Regulations, and which has no planning permission.

It should be noted that issues of land ownership or encroachment onto property or boundaries are civil issues and not matters that Planning Enforcement can take any action upon.


If you wish to report an unauthorised development you may make a complaint in writing to the Planning Enforcement section. Please fill out the Complaint Form or email planningenforcement@dlrcoco.ie

Complaints should contain the exact address of the site in question, details of the unauthorised development and, where known, the owner / developer of the site in question.

Your name and address is required for verification purposes and to keep you informed of any statutory notices served and of the outcome of investigations. The identity of the complainant is confidential, in line with section 35 of the Freedom of Information Act 1997 - 2014.

Please Note that the Planning Authority may be statute barred from taking any enforcement action on unauthorised development if the statutory time limits have passed since the carrying out of the unauthorised development, as per section 157(4) of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended).

In general, in respect of unauthorised development where no permission has been granted, action cannot be taken after seven years from the date of commencement of the development. In respect of unauthorised development where permission has been granted, action cannot be taken after seven years beginning on the expiration of the permission.

However proceedings may be commenced at any time in respect of any condition concerning the use of the land to which the permission is subject.

Please refer to Section 157(4) of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended) to view the complete legislation on this matter. 

Enforcement Procedure Steps:

  • Under the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended) the Planning Authority may take action where a complaint is received in writing alleging unauthorised development. The identity of the complainant is confidential, in line with section 35 of the Freedom of Information Act 1997 - 2014.
  • Where a Planning Authority considers unauthorised development may have occurred it shall issue a Warning Letter under section 152 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended).
  • The Warning Letter affords 4 weeks for a submission in reply, following which the Planning Authority will investigate, identify the nature of the unauthorised development and make a decision as to what further action, if any, is necessary, in line with the provisions of section 153 of the Act having regard to any submission received and any other material considerations.
  • An Enforcement Notice may subsequently be served under section 154 of the Act requiring the developer, owner, occupier or any other person who may be concerned with the unauthorised development to take whatever steps the Planning Authority deem necessary in order to regularise the development. The Planning Authority may require any party on whom the Enforcement Notice is served to refund any costs and expenses incurred by the Planning Authority in relation to the investigation.

The Planning Enforcement Register contains details of Warning Letters and Enforcement Notices issued and is available to view in electronic format at the Planning Public Counter.

If you wish to find out if a development has received planning permission you may search the Planning Application's Online search, or make enquiries at the Planning Public Counter open Monday to Friday 10am - 4pm.

Exempted development provisions are as set out in Section 4 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended) and Part 2 of the Planning and Development Regulations 2001 (as amended), along with Classes of Exempted Development contained within Schedule 2 of the Planning and Development Regulations 2001 (as amended). Along with the Conditions and Limitations attached to the Classes, Exempted Development may be restricted by a specific condition of a planning permission. Also the exemptions may not be applicable to buildings which are Protected Structures or within an Architectural Conservation Area, and the Conservation Division should be consulted in such cases.

The Planning Department Frequently Asked Questions gives an indication on what is able to be carried out as exempted development, without having to apply for planning permission, and will therefore give a further indication of what would be considered unauthorised development.

Full details in relation to Planning Enforcement Guidelines and Exemptions are found in the Planning Regulations on the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government website or in the Development Management Guidelines booklet. 

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