Rent out a loft room without building regs?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Rent out a loft room without building regs?

    Hi,

    I'm looking to buy a house which I intend to let out to students. There are 3 bedrooms, a lounge and a dining room. I would rent out the lounge as a bedroom to make it a 4-bedroom let. However, one of the bedrooms would be a loft conversion WITHOUT building regs. It was done a long time ago, and was not done to regs. There is a velux window, radiator, power, a fixed staircase (albeit quite a narrow wooden one with gaps in the vertical between the steps) and good height clearance at the top of the staircase. However, I suspect (still to confirm this from the current owners) the necessary steel RSJs are not in place and there is no fire door.

    I've been advised that getting the retrospective building regs would be virtually impossible. I'm hoping though that I may be able to add a fire door and put in a better staircase. What are the laws regarding renting out a loft room without building regs as a bedroom to an individual? It seems that it is quite regularly done - indeed, this very property has rented out as a 4-bed to students in the past. Is it illegal? If not, would I be taking risks?

    Any help is much appreciated,

    Thanks

    #2
    You are probably looking to have to license your premises as an HMO which will dictate what you can and cannot do. Trying to maximise your rental income has many drawbacks as you will probably discover.

    Before you buy approach your Local Authority and take advice from your solicitor too. If you are taking out a mortgage then even more caution should be exercised.
    The advice I give should not be construed as a definitive answer, and is without prejudice or liability. You are advised to consult a specialist solicitor or other person of equal legal standing.

    Comment


      #3
      I'm not an expert here but I think building regs and HMO/accommodation standard regs are separate issues. I think that lack of a building regs certificate does not make inhabiting the space illegal but if it is rented out it must comply with health and safety standards of the housing act 2004. Why not just get one that is right from the start and avoid the hassle of having council jobsworths taking enforcement action against you?

      Do not pay a 4 bed price for a property that is not a true 4 bed. Buy it as if the loft is storage space.

      Fire doors are not compulsory for smaller HMOs.

      Buying the property as a student investment may be a bad idea depending on where in the country you are. There has been a huge drive by the authorities to get students out of houses and into purpose built halls for all 3 years of study. Student numbers are falling and soon studying online from home will be the norm. If the property is cheap enough that it would still turn a profit rented to a small family or a couple then go for it.

      Comment


        #4
        If the figures don't add up as a 3 bed property, then don't purchase it; Or if you do, understand that you are taking a gamble, and may lose.
        Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

        Comment


          #5
          Bureaucrazy#3 I'm interested in what you say about the fire doors. Is a smaller HMO 5 rooms or less on 2 stories or less? I have a 4 bed HMO and the nice lady from the council said that because the doors are thick I don't need fire doors. Can I have any kind of door? e.g. B&Q cheapest doors? And do I need Yale front door type easy escape locks on the bedroom doors?

          Gone off pieste a bit there, sorry.

          OP I'd be very wary of letting a room that might just fall in on the occupiers below. The joists are there to support a ceiling and a bit of storage, not a fully grown person, bed wardrobe full of clothes, constant movement of a person or two or a little party, or weights for weight training.

          Comment


            #6
            The OP did ask about fire doors. Here is the official guidance:
            http://www.lacors.gov.uk/lacors/News....aspx?id=19844

            Solid wood doors are usually OK provided the fit closely to solid wood frames.

            If further protection is needed then 30 min fire doors can be installed at significant cost as you need to modify door frames to take thicker doors. Alternatively, thin firedoors are made by Jeld Wen but they are expensive.

            A not commonly known option that can save £1000s is that a tin of fire retardant paint can be applied to ordinary solid wood doors that is certified to provide 30 mins fire protection according to british standards, provided it has been applied according to the manufacturers instructions. Intumescent strips and self closers can be easily attached.

            Comment


              #7
              Sorry , but can you define 'fit closely'?

              Do intumescent strips have to be sunk into the door? Or can they be attached?

              The self closers I have slamed the door to and have dislodged the plaster around the door.

              Comment


                #8
                I need to do more research on the topic as I'm repeating what I read on the paint website. It may be the case that local authorities may not be satisfied unless the doors have been independently accredited.

                However, in practice if you want to improve fire safety cost effectively then if done right it could save lives but it may not satisfy the authorities who want to see a piece of paper so purpose built fd30 doors may be best if you want fire protection and legal protection. I think it is certainly a good plan to add this safety feature where there is no compulsory requirement for fire doors. In terms of close fitting, there is probably a British standard that contains all the facts and figures for compliance. Intumescent strips are available online that are surface mounted and include a smoke seal but they may come off through wear more easily than recessed ones.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Envirograf have numerous paint systems available, however, on thin timber panel doors (like the cheap B&Q items) the panels will need to have a lining fabric applied to them. The cost is usually great (nearly that of replacing the doors) and not recommended on doors less than 40mm thick.

                  Fitting of doors? 3mm gap btween the door and frame prior to decoration.

                  To the OP, it sounds like you'll be creating a Licenseable HMO so you'll need to check with the Local Council as to what they require (it varies from area to area). It not being signed off by and not complying with the Building Regulations will be a big consideration for them.

                  Yes they are two separate departments and unconnected, but the HMO regs do rely on properties first meeting minimum building standards.

                  I'd walk away.
                  There is always scope for misinterpretation.

                  If my posts can be interpreted in two ways, one that makes you feel angry and one that doesn't, I meant the latter.

                  Everyday is an opportunity to learn something new.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Thanks to all for the excellent advice.
                    I believe that because it is a two story place and only 4 rather than 5 beds, then it would not require an HMO license. I've seen a few loft conversions without building regs which are being rented out in the area (Norwich). Having said that, I'm not willing to take a risk with insurance and/or safety, so I'll move on.

                    Cheers

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Just to be clear. Is this property a bungalow with a [suposed] bedroom in the loft or is int a house that has a bedroom in the loft? If it's the latter then the building would be three storey not two.
                      There is always scope for misinterpretation.

                      If my posts can be interpreted in two ways, one that makes you feel angry and one that doesn't, I meant the latter.

                      Everyday is an opportunity to learn something new.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Yes, I'm talking rubbish... it is indeed a 3 storey house. But to require an HMO license in this area a house must have at least 5 tenants AND be at least 3 storeys.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          With you.

                          Personally, I don't understand why people take the risk on properties that don't have their paperwork in order, especially if it's to be a business investment / asset. Why build in the risk?
                          There is always scope for misinterpretation.

                          If my posts can be interpreted in two ways, one that makes you feel angry and one that doesn't, I meant the latter.

                          Everyday is an opportunity to learn something new.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Berlingogirl View Post
                            The self closers I have slamed the door to and have dislodged the plaster around the door.
                            Door closers are no longer required on fire doors in a private residential property. Not sure about HMOs or other uses.

                            Ideally you should create a fire protected escape route from top to bottom, ie all doors off the stairs.

                            Comment

                            Latest Activity

                            Collapse

                            Working...
                            X