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Antony Antoniou – Luxury Property Expert

Flat Conversions Permitted Development Rights

Flat Conversions Permitted Development Rights

Converting Your Flat Under New Permitted Development Rights

The rules around permitted development rights – what you can change about your property without needing full planning permission – have seen some key changes in recent years. If you own a flat or are looking to buy one, you may now have far more options for converting or extending it than you realised. Read on to find out more.

What Are Permitted Development Rights?

Permitted development rights set out certain types of building work you can legally carry out on your home without requiring approval from your local planning department. This includes anything from small home improvements like installing a new window or door, to larger projects like building a single-storey rear extension.

Crucially, just because you don’t need planning permission does not mean you can ignore all regulations. Building standards and safety requirements will still apply, so you’ll likely need approval from building control.


New Rules Around Converting Flats

One of the most significant recent changes is around subdividing existing flats or houses into smaller self-contained flats. Previously there were tight restrictions on this, but the rules have now been relaxed, making it much easier to carry out these kinds of conversions.

There are still some limitations – for example if you live in a Conservation Area you’ll typically need full planning approval for any building work. But for most standard flats or houses, conversion is now possible in many more cases.

Benefits of Converting Your Flat

So why might you want to convert your current home into two smaller flats? There are a few potential advantages:

Additional rental income – Having a second self-contained unit to rent out can provide a useful stream of extra income.

Avoiding HMO regulation – Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) with multiple tenants come under ever-tighter regulation, with council fees, mandatory licensing schemes and fines for non-compliance all increasing recently. Converting into self-contained flats avoids falling under these rules.

Lower mortgage rates – As the supply of rental properties has dropped following regulatory changes to buy-to-let mortgages, lenders are bringing back some better mortgage deals for landlords. These could make purchase or remortgaging more affordable.

Passive income – Once divided into self-contained units with their own facilities, the flats can largely manage themselves, providing more passive and hands-off income than an HMO.

In short, converting your home into two flats can make financial and practical sense in many cases.

The Conversion Process

If you do want to convert your flat, what’s the process? In most cases it will include:

  • – Checking permitted development rules to confirm you can convert without full planning permission
  • – Draw up designs for the new layout, including any changes to plumbing, electrics etc
  • – Get sign-off from building control that plans meet regulations
  • – Carry out the necessary internal building work and reconfigurations
  • – Install any new kitchen/bathroom facilities needed for the second flat
  • – Make sure both units meet rental property standards
  • – Market and let out the second flat

As always, I’m happy to advise further on any aspect of planning or undergoing a flat conversion. Don’t hesitate to get in touch.

The Outlook Going Forward

With more favourable conditions for landlords expected later this year – including better mortgage availability – now could be an excellent time to consider your options if you already own a property, or are looking to purchase one.

Converting an existing home into two self-contained flats is likely to be far simpler under the new permitted development rules. This can provide an excellent opportunity to maximise rental yield in the coming years.

I hope this summary of the key changes has been useful. Please do message or email me anytime if you need any further advice.

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