Steps to take when turning a house into flats in London

turning a house into flats in London

Apartments and flats in London are always in high demand, and so it can be a good investment to maximize return from income from property.  However, it is not as simple as adding entrances, bathrooms, and kitchens. There are different online guides to refer to when embarking on this process. As London’s favourite removals and storage company, we provide quality property services to London landlords and property managers, as well as helping people move house every day in the city. While the city is ever-changing, it is worth being aware that planning laws are currently under review as the government seeks to provide more housing for the populace.  If you are considering turning a property into flats, read the following steps to get familiar with the current process and the regulations that you may encounter along the way. 

Changes in planning laws to create more homes in inner city London 

The housing secretary Michael Gove has announced forthcoming plans to boost the development of homes within the city. Rather than building into the green belt, these changes will relax the planning laws around converting shops into houses and encouraging extensions and conversions within existing homes.  Under the adage that Britain must make use of what it has, the intention is to transform dingy high streets into living spaces, where properties are available. With a target of 300,000 new houses required, there is much current debate around how that will be achieved.  However, the new planning laws should allow for the regeneration of high streets while increasing housing stock for both buyers and renters.  While the emphasis has been on maximizing the housing potential of the high street, it is expected that the requirements for permitted developments around barns and agricultural buildings will also be relaxed.  In short, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities seeks to unblock the bottlenecks in the planning system, getting England building again. 

General steps to take when turning a house into flats in London 

While the government’s recent plans regarding planning have been to sharpen up on holiday lets and develop longer-term rental housing stock for residents, there may be different restrictions depending on the use of the flats intended for change. 

  1. Research and Planning 

It is not clear when the government’s changes in planning legislation will go into action, but each London borough may operate with different planning guidelines and specifications.  Researching the planning requirements in the area you are interested in will be a preliminary step and provide you with the route you need to take.  You may need to seek pre-planning advice from your borough, or through a professional company.   As you gather information at this stage you will be able to determine your plan for the conversion and contemplate their layout.  Getting quotes for the building work involved will help you budget for the renovations, and this can help you determine how feasible this project is.  A feasibility assessment will be important for you to work out if it will be profitable in the end.  Assessing the rental stock in the area and how much you will be able to ask for will be important for establishing the financial viability over time. 

  1. Planning Permission

Currently, converting a building’s usage from a family home to a flat requires a Change of Use planning application. This will involve outlining all your plans in your planning application, submitting drawings and designs, and meeting the local criteria for such a Change of Use.  In addition to paying the fees for the planning permission, there can be a wait from several weeks to several months involved.  While this can slow the process down, preparing the plans for the application will help the overall project determine the budget and what will be required in terms of work when permission is secured. 

  1. Structural changes and safety

Changes to the building can involve soundproofing, making separate entrances, and adding kitchens and bathrooms to the building. Safety measures will be required for the increase in residents in the building.  Building Regulations Approval will be required to see that everything is done according to safety and building standards. Over time, as a landlord you will have to provide gas and electricity safety certificates for each property on a regular basis. At the end of the work, the local building inspection team will issue you a certificate of completion and approval. 

  1. Utilities

Each flat will require a supply of gas, electricity, water, drainage, and possibly the internet. This may involve having multiple boilers and setting up meters and submeters to ensure accountability between different tenants. Topupmeters provide meter solutions for landlords who want their tenants to be accountable for their electricity usage.  By fitting a submeter, the tenant can top up their own electricity account based on their own usage as detailed by the meter. Each tenant has the right to view their own meter readings and usage by law.  Depending on your plans it will be important to establish how your gas and electrical supplies will factor into the different flats. 

  1. Fire Safety

Safety regulations will require fire-resistant doors, fire alarms, and emergency exits to meet current standards.  In addition, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms will be compulsory for each rental property. For the government’s advice on fire safety, go here

  1. Separate Land Registry Titles 

Once you have completed the building work and the properties have their separate entrances you can register the individual flats as separate addresses. This is done with the Land Registry and provided you have everything in place you will be able to rent out the properties to prospective tenants, who can register at the new address of the new flat. 

  1. Seek profesional help

Due to the regulations involved, the complexities raised by energy supply, and the need for building control and planning applications, it may be worth finding experienced professionals to assist you along the way.  Architects and surveyors, as well as planning consultants, will be able to offer clear insight into what could be a bewildering process. Plus, as there are variables in timings with planning applications and building regulations, they may help speed things up. 

Aussie London – No problem approach to property services in London 

Our signature “Can do attitude” is the foundation of our customer service ethos. We want to make sure that anything is possible when it comes to providing removals and storage service in London. That’s why we developed our property services to assist our customers and property managers with quick solutions to any kind of issue that can arise. London’s favourite handymen are available on Aussie demand to cover any kind of domestic and home situation. Our plumbers, electricians, and locksmiths are also available to attend to a property or any kind of emergency requirement. If you need a property professionally cleaned or redecorated then let us provide the answer.  For all your property needs, look no further than our reviews to trust that our positive ethos extends to all our different services in London. Contact us today for a quote. 

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