Altering an HMO to a single dwelling & withdrawing HMO application - (any probs ?)

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    Altering an HMO to a single dwelling & withdrawing HMO application - (any probs ?)

    Hi,
    I’d be very grateful if anyone could have a quick look at this ‘reunification’ program, where a building previous rented in units with own facilities is being returned to the status of a single dwelling.

    Perhaps you can spot any problems or things i haven’t thought of.

    The question, perhaps, concerns two things.
    1. Withdrawing an HMO application that was based on 3 separate dwellings- (best way to proceed, from a bureaucratic viewpoint?)
    2. what actual factors define a single dwelling (utilities, layout, minimum requirements)

    Here's the situation now -

    My building (now vacant except for me) was for some years arranged into three dwellings THUS,

    with myself in occupation of one one bed unit.

    1.a single bed unit with kitchen, bed/living room, bathroom
    2.a single bed unit with kitchen, bed/living room, bathroom
    3. a three bed unit with kitchen, living room, bathroom.

    The building has one front door, each unit had it’s own front door

    Each of the three units had it’s own gas and electricity supply and meters.


    IMPORTANT POINTS

    A) I have now taken full vacant possession of whole building after serving S21

    B) an application for an HMO (presumably which would have been an S257 classification) was submitted to council at the start of the re possession process, which did state that there were three dwelling units

    I did this because legal advice stated that S21 for repossession was otherwise not valid,

    plus a risk of fine for illegal rental was possible. (although things were very amicable, i couldn't be sure of that when starting the re-possession process)


    Since then I’ve decided to reunify the building as a single dwelling

    My reasons for that are
    i) i want more living space,

    ii) I don’t want to rent separate units because AST may be abolished

    iii) it seems to me, that with S257 HMO classification, all kinds of potential planning and council tax issues could possibly arise in the long term, or at point of sale.

    (I really want my life to become simpler, less stressful in all possible ways)


    My proposed plan of action -

    1. withdraw HMO application. Building has no tenants now in any case

    2. physically alter building, but with the minimal physical work and disruption as possible.


    These are the proposed alterations, which are as ‘physically minimal’ as i can make them

    ​​​
    1.while i will retain two gas boilers in the building (it’s a big house and engineers says two is a good idea)
    I would nonetheless be able to run both from a single gas meter and a single gas supply pipe.
    So only one gas supply will remain into building, the other two capped off.

    2. Will aim to do same with electricity, go down to one meter. End the other supplies. Leave one electricity meter and one supply.

    4. one kitchen that was in one of the small dwelling units will be completely removed
    and become a bedroom
    (so that former unit is thus left as two rooms, one with a small en suite bathroom, leading off from hallway.

    5.one kitchen at bottom of house will have cooker and fridge removed, and have two washing machines instead, and retain a sink, thus it magically becomes ‘a utility room’.
    That former dwelling unit will thus become a bedroom, a utility room, a bathroom, all accessible from hallway, but ‘just a part of the house’.

    6 One kitchen/diner will remain, as the sole kitchen in the building, (possibly shared in future with a lodger or two lodgers. (a different, single building HMO app could be done if more than two lodgers) Also, one big room in the house will be designated as the shared living room.

    7. While doors that previously served as ‘front doors’ to separate units may physically remain in place, they will have any locks completely removed. If i have lodgers in future, i envisage being able to lock a couple of rooms reserved for my use, when i’m away, but this would NOT be any of the ‘former front doors’.


    Final paragraph -
    1. if you’ve been kind enough to read this, i’d be grateful if you can spot any problem which might be highlighted if i end up getting inspected as part of the HMO app i started (but hope to withdraw)
    2. let me know if you think i can ‘disentangle myself’ from my previous S257 application as simply as just withdrawing it?

      Even if i get an inspection, i’m hoping that, having done these alterations, i can argue ‘single family house’ , single dwelling planning status (remember, S57 did not entail planning permission anyway) and single council tax etc.

      Obviously i will take any builders advice on building regs, but, to be honest, i don’t anticipate being hauled up on any building reg issues, as i have things like self closing fire door, mains power smoke alarms etc anyway.

      I anecdotally hear HMO app processing is taking a minimum of 18months anyway, so i could just go ahead and alter, and then wait til they contact me and tell them i have either no tenants , or a small number of lodgers in what is now a single dwelling.

      Or pro-actively withdraw app first, and tell them i'm re-unifying ? What would you do?


    Thanks as ever for any views, experiences, concerns.

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