converting a house into two flats

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  • converting a house into two flats

    Just wanted any ones views of this before I try to get planning permission. I have a building that I want to convert into two flats. A ground floor one bed flat accessed from the back kitchen and a first and second floor 2 bed maisonette, accessed from the front door.

    Below is a plan of the building. On the ground floor I will block the door off from the front room into the hall way and block the door from the hall to the back room.
    Upstairs, bedroom two would become the kitchen. The bathroom is already there. Bedroom 3 would become the lounge and bedroom 1 and 4 would be the bedrooms. All doors are fire doors at the moment and there is emergency lighting in the stair wells already, as the building was used as a HMO, but I would rather have it as two flats.

    I am just asking for any advice on what people think for building regulations. I would sound proof the ceilings in the down stairs rooms and possibly the stair walls if I have to. I Am not going to try to put the two flats on a separate lease, just use it as one building and rent them out as two flats.

    Any thoughts, negative or positive welcome.

    Thanks






  • #2
    You need a professional fire risk assessment, which takes into account the existing construction methods.

    However, I suspect a primary escape route through a kitchen is not going to be considered desirable, even if people can escape though windows, on the ground floor. Where does this escape route lead to?

    Rules on stairwells seem to keep changing, but you will probably need some fire doors. I think you will need emergency lighting.

    If you are going to put bedrooms of one flat under/over living rooms, or kitchens, noise may be an issue.

    I think they are going to have to be separate for council tax.

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    • #3
      All the windows are the tilt turn type, including the front bay window which has a massive opener. I am hoping this would be the fire escape for the front ground floor bedroom. The rear outside door goes into the back yard, which would be part of the downstairs flat. The property has all doors as fire doors at the moment and emergency lighting to the stair wells also.

      My instinct says that it could be converted quite easy,( as flat conversions go), but I am open to any thoughts from anyone regarding any building regs they know of

      Comment


      • #4
        Ground floor flat accessed from the back? Apart from the obvious question of whether that would get planning, is that really desirable from a tenant's perspective not to have a front door?

        I think I'd be more inclined to have a communal ground floor corridor, brick up the door to the front room and provide front door access to the ground floor straight into the lounge/Kitchen. Front door to the upper flat at the top of the stairs. Although that may also not be ideal from the planners perspective.

        Your upper flat bedrooms are not ideally sized. Could you split bedroom 4 into a bathroom and an ensuite to bedroom 3, and then combine bedroom 2 + shower room into a big open plan kitchen/lounge? You then end up with a 2 double bedroom 2 bathroom upper flat and a 1 bedroom lower flat. Rent potential probably higher than what you'd get with your quick fix conversion.

        Just a thought!

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        • #5
          Thanks for the response and ideas.

          the property is an end terrace, so the back door is on the next street. I would have thought that having completely different entrances would be much more desirable for tenants. you enter your flat from your own back yard! But hey, you might be right that the planners will come up with all sorts of issues.

          I don't see the point in putting extra bathrooms in, or taking one out if it's not necessary, causing all sorts of work and expense, unless I needed to do it to get planning, or I wanted to live in it. Although your idea would look better. I know it would work so much better with the bathroom in bedroom 4 but I'm not too fussed about having the kitchen in the living space either. I think there is many options open to me if I want to spend, but I don't if I can get away with it. It is all about rental yield for me.

          I am not going to try to split the titles, just rent them out. I don't believe I will gain much more rent with a different layout, as this house is in town, surrounded by room lets and there is a ceiling to the rent. But you have made me think, as I had not thought about an en-suite bathroom on the top floor.

          Comment


          • #6
            You might need to think about how the ground floor flat would receive mail. I can only guess that the side entrance is some sort of garden gate leading to the current kitchen door. As it's on a seperate street, you would probably be unlikely to get a street address on that street. And the occupant of the ground floor will have no access to the front door entrance. A postman would likely just deliver all mail through the one letterbox at the front of the property.

            Otherwise, I agree that keeping rooms as they are will be minimal cost. If the market where the property is will take this, and your yield is good, then makes sense. But, for example, there are parts of London where it would make more sense to refurbish to a higher standard and a market rent would be achieved. Any lower standard and the difference in rent will be noticeable.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by amazondean View Post

              I am not going to try to split the titles, just rent them out.
              Also, if I understand you correctly, how would the council know to provide 2 council tax bills to each seperate flat? I suspect what you are suggesting would be very unofficial... Which might be fine on the face of it, but should you need to chase rent arrears or evict at any point in the future, this could unravel very quickly! And not in your favour.

              ​​​​​Interested to know what you end up doing!

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              • #8
                I do actually own two other properties that are split into flats. Although both were split before I purchased them. One house is two flats and the other is three flats. Neither of the houses are on there own leases, for example, because the utilities are still as one house but have sub meters fitted for gas and electric. Not ideal, but actually works for me as the price I paid for them was worth every penny of the hassle I have collecting the gas and electric Money!

                The council have no problem sending out two lots of council tax either, if they think there is a self contained flat present. The post does sometimes get sent to the wrong place, as one flat has its own entrance, and often gets put through the wrong letter box, but I'm really not too bothered and I have never had a tenant complain. It is what it is. I don't think there would be an issue with calling the downstairs flat "A" from the other street, as it is still part of the building, but all these anomalies will add up when the council make a decision!

                my real issue with this property is just getting the planning permission. I feel that if I can get planning for what I want, I am confident I can do a lot of the work myself, although at a cost of time!

                I am happy for all comments and especially any advice on building regs.

                Thanks

                Comment

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