Planning for house to flat conversion

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    Planning for house to flat conversion

    I am interested in a property which has two flats with separate tenants already in place. The property is being sold by the family of the previous Landlord who has sadly passed. I have however been advised that there was never any planning permission to convert this property form a house to two seperate flats. Although the conversion was done in the 80’s - will I need to do anything if I wanted to go ahead with the purchase? Would this impact my mortgage at all?

    #2
    If the current owner can get a certificate of lawfulness this would then mitigate any issues in the future, is the elec, water and gas all separated and metered for the 2 properties?

    I would do some homework, look at the current regs in conversion, see that the basics are covered such as room sizes. In terms of mortgage depends on if you are buying it as a Buy to Let or as a family home.

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      #3
      Thank you. I will ask regarding certificate of lawfulness. The flats have a seperate living room, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom each with seperate electricity smart metres. We will buy the as a BTL

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        #4
        Getting the LDC will add value to the property, if you can show 5 years utility records, council tax and occupation you'll have no problem getting planning ratified but it may not be mortgageable till it's sorted.

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          #5
          And you might need to check there are fire boards between the flats.

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            #6
            HOLD1234

            I would find out how Long the tenants have been living there for, the date they 1st moved ?

            Just encase they have been living there for a very Long time......................

            Read about Assured and Regulated tenancies in below link.

            https://www.gov.uk/private-renting-t.../tenancy-types
            Thunderbirds are go

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              #7
              After 4 years the change of use from a house to two flats became immune from enforcement by the local planning authority so that the current use is lawful.

              An application for a Lawful Use Certificate will require a planning application although this is not a matter of gaining planning permission, which would require compliance with local plan policies regarding parking, amenity space and even room sizes.
              An application for an LDC has to be decided on the evidence provided.

              Providing evidence of occupation as two flats for more than 4 years with separate tenancy agreements or showing two separate bills for electricity, or even having both flats registered for council tax is what will be needed. If both have separate postal address that is also good evidence.

              The fee for an LDC application is £462 and a decision should be made within 8 weeks.

              If there is a single Land Registry freehold title for the single building, it ought to be possible to obtain a mortgage, especially if the rental income is shown to be high enough for the mortgage company to grant a BTL mortgage if you intend to provide a higher deposit than normal.

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                #8
                Dear Hold 1234,
                In general you need to prove that the place was converted and in continuous use as such for at least 4 years to get retrospective planning and 10 years for building control. The main pieces of evidence are four years continuous and separate council tax, water, gas and electricity accounts for each unit. Historic pics on Google earth can help to prove any extensions have been in place for the prerequisite time. You should also try and get copies of ASTs as further proof. A sworn affidavit from the seller will also help (but this is not possible since they have passed so perhaps a close relative can help). If you have these items in place then you have a very good chance of success. But dont go in cold - engage the services pf a good planning consultant who does this regularly as you can easily come unstuck ie the house is within a non conversion zone - or if the flats are not to the present minimum sizes Title (publishing.service.gov.uk) ref page 5.
                Also be mindful that many boroughs are introducing HMO licensing for units converted before 1991, this is called a Section 257 HMO ref - Housing Act 2004.
                Also be very very mindful of sitting tenants as per the excellent tip from member 45002 above.
                All of the above risks/work should be reflected in your purchase price.
                Hope this helps
                Abs

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                  #9
                  as you can easily come unstuck i.e. the house is within a non conversion zone - or if the flats are not to the present minimum sizes
                  That cannot be taken into account for an application for a Lawful Use Certificate.
                  The evidence of 4 years use as two separate dwellings is all that is needed, because it is not a planning application and does not need to comply with an planning requirements, as mentioned in posting #7.

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                    #10
                    I have a bought a 4 story house that was converted to 4x flats "20 to 30 years ago", there wasnt a lot of evidence from the previous landlord, but I do have a couple of ASTs from 2015, so getting LDC should be no problem. There is only one registered address with the post office (but 4x council tax records and the separate flats are discoverable on the local councils website).

                    In case it helps anyone else, my plan of attack to shore up this investment is/was:

                    1. Collect evidence of length of time it has been flats
                    2. Make sure everything is safe and legal as you can (Gas Safe certs, EPC, EIHR, Fire System check) + eyeball everything for common sense stuff
                    3. In order to avoid HMO status/costs, collect evidence that 1991 building regs were followed. This required lots of googling, the main points to check are:
                    - Fire System - alarms/type, emergency lighting, signs
                    - enclose electrical meters properly
                    - Proper Fire Doors 30/60min ones,
                    - Fire boarding between flats/escape rooms
                    - Acoustic seperation - not much you can do here, hoping for the best!
                    (Note that if you do retospective work then you have to use the latest building regs not just the 1991 ones!)
                    4. Apply and get LDC
                    5. The council are the only ones that can tell royal mail to add the addresses, so apply to get this done (with all above complete so there are no surprises for you.

                    I am about to do #4, will update with any other info!

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