do you need planning permission for a stairlift

December 2023

Do You Need Planning Permission For A Stairlift In December 2023


When contemplating the future stairlift installation, one question frequently arises whether planning permission is required. 

This article will comprehensively analyse this topic, discussing the different types of stairlifts, planning permission, and building regulations in the United Kingdom. We will provide guidance based on our research to help you make an informed decision.

Topics that you will find covered on this page

You can listen to an audio recording of this page below.

What is a Stairlift?

A stairlift is a mechanical device that transports individuals with limited mobility, such as wheelchair users and elderly individuals with mobility issues, up and down stairs.

 Various stairlifts, such as chair lifts, platform lifts, and curved or straight stairlifts, can be installed in pre-existing homes, new buildings, and historic buildings and structures.

Planning Permission Overview

Planning permission is the legal framework for building owners to operate when substantially altering their structures. 

Planning permission is typically granted by the local authority in the United Kingdom, which evaluates each planning application based on predetermined criteria.

Types of Stairlifts

There are various types of stairlifts available to accommodate a variety of needs and staircase configurations:

Curved Stairlifts

Curved stairlifts are designed for stairs with turns, bends, or intermediate landings. They feature a custom curved stairlift and track that conforms to the staircase’s shape.

Straight Stairlifts

Straight stairlifts are appropriate for staircases with no bends or landings. The straight stairlift track is a simple, straight line that runs parallel to the stairs.

Platform Lifts

Platform lifts are larger, wheelchair-accessible lifts designed for individuals with mobility impairments. They can be installed indoors and outdoors, providing access between floors and split levels.

Chair Lifts

Chair lifts are stairlifts equipped with seats, allowing users to sit comfortably while being transported up or down stairs.

When Do You Need Planning Permission?

In most cases, planning permission is not required to install a stairlift because it is considered a minor alteration. 

However, planning permission may be required if the stairlift installation affects the structural integrity of the building or any material changes to the interior design scheme.

Development Rights and Building Consent

When installing a third floor or stairlift in a historically significant structure, listed building approval may be required. Listed buildings are subject to additional restrictions to preserve their architectural and historical significance. 

Before altering a listed building, checking with the local government is vital.

Periods for Planning Permission

If planning approval is necessary, the procedure can take weeks or months. It is essential to account for this time when planning the installation of your stairlift to avoid delays.

Limited Mobility and Mobility Aid Considerations

Individuals with limited mobility can maintain their independence in their own homes with the assistance of stairlifts. It is essential to choose a stairlift that satisfies the user’s specific lift needs while adhering to building codes and legal requirements.

Common Misconceptions about Planning Permission for Stairlifts

There is a common misconception that all stairlift installations require a building permit. Typically, this is different. 

Based on our findings, planning permission is typically only required if the passenger lift installation compromises the structural integrity of the building or involves a historically significant structure.

Benefits of Installing a Stairlift without Planning Permission

Several advantages to installing a stairlift without planning permission include a quicker installation and less red tape. As long as the facility complies with building codes and does not involve a historically significant structure, there should be no problems.

Finding an Independent Stairlift Company to Help

An independent stairlift company can advise you on the best stairlift for your needs and assist you with the installation. 

In addition, they can help you navigate any planning permission or building regulation requirements, ensuring a stress-free process. Working with a reputable stairlift company can significantly affect the outcome of your project, in our experience.

Peace of Mind with Exceptional Customer Service

Choosing a stairlift company with a solid reputation for customer service guarantees that you will receive the necessary support and assistance throughout the process. 

From evaluating your home and staircase to determining the best type of stair lift to addressing any concerns regarding planning permission, exceptional customer service is indispensable.

Are you looking for a stairlift? We can help you find the perfect one.

Choose from some of the world’s most innovative stairlifts from Acorn?

Some can be fitted quickly and easily to the stairs, not the wall
Some require no structural changes to your home
Affordable and reliable with low running costs
Slimline models that fold away conveniently when not in use
Hinged rail designs to eliminate any trip or hazard

Read some recent 5 star client testimonials, on Trustpilot, about Acorn Stairlifts’ fantastic support

More reasons why we think Acorn Stairlifts are a good option

Stairlifts made in the UK
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Call now on 0333 567 1612 to get a quote or to discuss your stairlift requirements.


Book a callback, in the calendar below, for a time that suits you.

A video about Acorn stairlifts and how they work

Curved Stairlifts UK

Choosing the Right Type of Stairlift for your Needs

A vast selection of stairlifts is available to accommodate various needs and staircase configurations. 

Before selecting a stairlift, it is crucial to consider factors such as the user’s mobility, the dimensions of the staircase, and any specific lift requirements.

Narrow Staircases and Hinged Rails

A stairlift with a hinged rail may be required for narrow staircases to ensure adequate space for other staircase users. 

When the stairlift is not used, hinged rails can be folded away, providing a practical solution for tight spaces.

Range of Different Types of Stairlifts Available

Various stairlifts on the market are designed to accommodate multiple needs and preferences. Typical examples include:

Indoor stairlifts

These are designed for residential wall installation and provide access between floors.

Outdoor stairlifts

Outdoor stairlifts are constructed from weather-resistant materials and designed for outdoor use.

Evacuation lifts

As part of a comprehensive evacuation strategy, these lifts aid in safely evacuating people with mobility issues during emergencies.

Features to Look Out For When Buying a Stairlift

Several features can enhance the user experience and safety of a stairlift. Before deciding, it is crucial to consider factors such as remote controls, swivel seats, safety sensors, and battery backups.

Considerations Before Purchasing a New or Used Stairlift Track

Whether you choose a new building or use a stairlift track, you must consider the following factors:


Ensure that the stairlift track is compatible with the stairlift model and the design of your staircase.


Examine the quality and condition of the track, particularly if you are purchasing a used way.

"A stairlift is a mechanical device that transports individuals with limited mobility, such as wheelchair users and elderly individuals with mobility issues, up and down stairs."


Confirm that the stairlift company can install the track per best practices and any applicable design recommendations.

Indoor stairlifts and installations usually do not require a planning permit. 

When planning your stairlift project, it is essential to consider building regulations, listed building consent, and local authority guidelines. 

By working with a reputable stairlift company and adhering to the suggestions outlined in this article, you can successfully install a stairlift to provide greater accessibility for yourself or a loved one, ensuring peace of mind and an enhanced quality of life.

What are the restrictions on stairlifts?

Restrictions on stairlifts may involve building codes, listed building consent, and substantial alterations to the property, especially in historic or grade-listed homes. 

To ensure a successful installation, it is essential to consult with your local authority and adhere to applicable design guidelines and best practices. 

Due to their unique designs, stairlifts such as platforms and accessible lifts may be subject to particular restrictions.

Straight Stairlifts UK

Can you have a stairlift on any stairs?

Stairlifts can be installed on straight, curved, and narrow staircases. Various stairlift models, including straight stairlifts, curved stairlifts, and platform lifts, are designed to accommodate multiple staircase configurations. 

To ensure a safe and functional installation, the minimum width, the structural integrity of stairs and walls, and the house’s and the property’s architectural features must be considered.

Will the government pay for a stairlift?

In some instances, the government may fund disabled access improvements, such as installing a stairlift, for senior citizens or individuals with impaired mobility. 

You may qualify for grants or financial assistance through programmes such as Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG). It is essential to determine your eligibility and investigate available options for covering the installation costs of a stairlift.

Can I install my stairlift?

Although it is technically possible to install a stairlift on your own, hiring a professional stairlift installation company is strongly advised.

 Installing a stairlift requires ensuring compliance with building codes, technical manuals, and applicable design guidelines. Professional installers have the knowledge and experience to provide the stairlift is installed safely and effectively in your home.

What is the disadvantage of stairlifts?

A potential disadvantage of stairlifts is that they may only be suitable for some users, particularly those with difficulty transferring to and from the seat. 

Additionally, stairlifts may necessitate alterations to the existing home, such as removing handrails or constructing new walls or floors. In addition, the installation of stairlifts may be restricted to grade-listed properties or buildings with specific architectural restrictions, such as historic structures.

What is the minimum space for a stairlift?

The minimum space required for a stairlift depends on the model and design of the staircase.

Typically, a staircase must be at least 29 inches (74 cm) wide to accommodate a stairlift installation. 

This may vary, however, based on the size and features of the lift, such as a hinged rail for narrow staircases or a platform lift for wheelchair users. It is essential to consult with a stairlift expert to assess your staircase and determine the best model for your needs.

Are there any additional planning permission requirements for outdoor stairlifts?

Outdoor stairlifts accessible lift only, designed for external use and constructed from weather-resistant materials, typically do not require planning permission unless they involve significant alterations to the property or compromise the building’s structural integrity. 

Nevertheless, you must check with your local authority to ensure compliance with any specific rules or restrictions that may apply to your property or area.

different types of stairlifts

Can stairlift installation impact the resale value of a home?

A stairlift installation may affect a home’s resale value, depending on the target market and preferences of potential buyers. 

A stairlift installed well may be viewed as a valuable addition by some buyers, particularly the elderly or those with limited mobility, thereby enhancing the property’s desirability. Alternatively, some buyers may view the stairlift as unnecessary and prefer a home without one. 

When determining the impact of a stairlift installation on your home’s resale value, it is crucial to consider your specific market and prospective buyers.

How can a stairlift be removed if it is no longer needed?

If a stairlift is no longer needed, contacting a professional company for removal is recommended. 

They will ensure that the stairlift is adequately disassembled and the stairwell is left in good condition. Additionally, depending on its age and condition, some stairlift companies may offer to buy back or recycle the used stairlift.

Are there any maintenance requirements for stairlifts?

Stairlifts require routine maintenance to continue operating safely and efficiently. 

A professional technician is recommended to service your stairlift at least once a year. The stairlift may be cleaned, lubricated, and inspected for potential problems during routine maintenance. 

Following the manufacturer’s instructions and scheduling regular maintenance appointments can extend the life of your stairlift and ensure its optimal performance.

What factors should be considered when choosing a stairlift company?

When choosing a stairlift company, it is crucial to consider experience, reputation, customer service, and product selection. 

A reputable stairlift company must have a history of successful installations and pleased customers. In addition, it is essential to choose a company that offers a variety of stairlift options to accommodate your unique needs and staircase configuration. 

Outstanding customer service, including assistance during installation and ongoing maintenance, is essential for a seamless and trouble-free experience.

Are there any financial assistance options available for stairlift installation?

Various government programmes, charities, and non-profit organisations may provide funding for installing a stairlift. In the United Kingdom, the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) is one option that can help disabled individuals cover the cost of home modifications. 

It is essential to investigate available assistance programmes and determine your eligibility to offset the installation costs of a stairlift.

Have A Free Consultation With A Stairlift Specialist

You can contact an Acorn stair lift specialist in one of 3 ways:

  • Option 1 – Call directly on – 0333 567 1602
  • Option 2 – Book an appointment directly in the calendar below, and one of the team will call you back at your chosen time
  • Option 3 – Leave your contact details and Acorn will get in touch with you

Option 1 - Call Acorn Stairlifts Directly


Monday to Thursday : 8am – 7pm

Friday : 8am – 5:30pm

Saturday & Sunday : 9am – 5pm

Call us on : 0333 567 1602

Option 2 - Book an appointment, in the calendar below, for a callback when it's convenient

Option 3 - Leave your details and Acorn will get in touch

Leave your contact details below, and one of the Acorn team will give you a call to discuss your needs.

                                                      Please note that Acorn Stairlifts undertake all calls.

Meet the author

Jane Parkinson

Jane Parkinson

Jane is one of our primary content writers and specialises in elder care. She has a degree in English language and literature from Manchester University and has been writing and reviewing products for a number of years.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the process for obtaining listed building consent for stairlift installation in the UK?

In the United Kingdom, a listed building consent is required for alterations that may affect the character or appearance of historically significant structures. You must apply to your local planning authority to obtain permission to install a stairlift in a listed building. 

The application must include comprehensive information about the proposed stairlift, its impact on the building, and any mitigation measures. Collaborating closely with a stairlift company with experience working with historic buildings is essential to ensure the installation complies with all applicable requirements and restrictions. 

Plan accordingly; obtaining approval for a listed building can take several weeks or months.

How can I determine the most suitable stairlift model for my home?

To determine the best stairlift model for your home, it is necessary to evaluate your specific needs and the characteristics of your staircase. Consider factors such as the user’s mobility level, the stairs’ dimensions and configuration, and any additional requirements, such as a platform lift for wheelchair users. 

A professional stairlift company can thoroughly evaluate your home and recommend the best stairlift model to meet your needs, making their advice invaluable. In addition, they can provide installation guidance and any necessary modifications to ensure the lift is safe and functional.

How do building regulations in the UK apply to stairlift installations?

Building regulations in the United Kingdom outline the minimum requirements for building design, construction, and alterations. Compliance with these regulations is necessary to ensure the safety and functionality of a stairlift during installation. 

Some aspects of building codes that may apply to stairlift installations include minimum staircase width requirements, structural soundness, and electrical safety. Working with a reputable stairlift company that is familiar with UK building regulations can ensure that your installation satisfies all requirements and avoids potential problems.

What are some safety features to consider when purchasing a stairlift?

Safety features are essential when selecting a stairlift, as they protect the user and improve the lift’s performance. 

Safety sensors that detect obstacles and automatically stop the stairlift, a swivel seat that allows for easy entry and exit, and a battery backup system that ensures the stairlift’s operation during a power outage are essential safety features to consider. 

In addition, look for stairlift models that include seatbelts or harnesses for added safety and remote controls for easy operation. A professional stairlift company can help you select a model that meets your needs and provides peace of mind by discussing your safety requirements.

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