Ability to let room with no windows but a skylight

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    Ability to let room with no windows but a skylight

    Hi this is my first time on this forum - fingers crossed!

    We are just about to take our first tentative steps into property investment. We have viewed a property today that has two rooms, but as one of the rooms has no external windows and just a skylight it is being sold by the estate agent as a 1 bedroom flat (NB it is ground floor). The estate agent told us that in terms of renting that this room could be let as a bedroom because landlords aren't subject to the same restrictions about what is defined as a bedroom. I have come home and tried to confirm this statement on the internet but haven't been able to so was wondering if anyone knew if his statement was correct? A few extra details. The room is quite light as a result of the skylight so amount of natural light shouldn't be an issue. The bedroom in question has a door that opens directly on to the hallway of the flat. The hallway opens onto a corridor with a firedoor before finally opening onto the street. Also off the hallway is a bedroom with a window onto a courtyard garden and a kitchen with a sliding door onto the same courtyard garden. The bedroom easily fits a double bed.

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    #2
    The agent is talking nonsense. If anything LLs are subject to more stringent regulatioans than ordinary householders, in terms of which rooms can be used for what.

    What is the floor area of the room, what is the are of the skylight and what is the area of floor with a ceiling height above it of 2.4m? (In practice, this means disregard any floor area with a sloping ceiling above it).

    If it's a ground floor flat, does that mean that the room with a skylight is in an extension, or what?
    'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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      #3
      Many thanks mind the gap.

      The floor area is 4.7m x 2.5m (c15 foot by 8 foot). The roof it actually a flat roof and it appears to have been built at the same time as the rest of the flats. I assume they were allowed to have a ground floor construction where this room was, but not allowed to have higher stories to allow light into upper stories/not impinge on the neighbours.

      I hope that helps.

      Thanks again!

      Comment


        #4
        The following is from my research (ages ago) re my hmo and looking at a basement conversion, I may be a bit off the mark as Councils can take a differing view on guidance.

        The room would seem easily to meet minimum room sizes (for a bedroom where there is seperate communal space) , although a recent court case threw the idea of strict minimum room sizes into doubt.

        HHSRS means that a bedroom requires sufficient natural/artificial light and ventilation.

        Firstly it is essential that the room be able to be ventilated. My feeling would be that this would also be applicable if it is raining outsid, so if the skylight cannot be opened there is a problem. If ventilation is ok we then move onto lighting.

        If the room is not the main living area and there is a seperate living room my feeling is you will be ok with the skylight. If the bedroom doubles as the living area then I think you would fall foul as HHSRS also mentions having a 'view' as well as sufficient lighting. The idea is lack of lighting and a view can be a cause of depression.

        Edit.. I seem to remember seeing a statement that a window must be 1/10 room size and have an opening area of 1/20, but I think this was HMO guidance so possibly not relevant.

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          #5
          Thanks Andybenw - that's really useful.

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            #6
            How big is the skylight, and is it set at an angle in the ceiling, or flat?

            There is a LZ member called mk1fan who would know the up to date regulations - might be worth sending him a pm and asking his advice. He'd be able to give you a definitive answer.
            'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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              #7
              There is no requirement for a window to be within a wall. Indeed, a roof light lets more light into a room than a window in a wall.

              As long as there is natural ventilation (which, again, is not reliant or prescribed to be provided by a window) and a protected means of escape then there's no reason why a room with just a roof light isn't legally acceptable.
              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


                #8
                Speak of angels...
                'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by mk1fan View Post
                  There is no requirement for a window to be within a wall. Indeed, a roof light lets more light into a room than a window in a wall.

                  As long as there is natural ventilation (which, again, is not reliant or prescribed to be provided by a window) and a protected means of escape then there's no reason why a room with just a roof light isn't legally acceptable.
                  That's correct for building regs, but HHSRS takes a slightly different view.

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                    #10
                    Andybenw is exactly right. Also, from your description, there doesn't appear to be any other living space, such as a livingroom, as I suspect this has been turned into the other bedroom you mention? I'd also be concerned about the heating in the room you refer to - if its got a flat roof, its likely to have really poor insulation, as well as possibly not being able to open the window - which are both likely to lead to damp and mould problems, and a visit from Environmental Health, who will then look closely at the issue of a view, mentioned by Ancy.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by andybenw View Post
                      That's correct for building regs, but HHSRS takes a slightly different view.
                      Other than a lack of horizontal 'view' of which there are no minimum quality standards, I don't see what issues those regs would have with a roof light over a window.

                      Roof lights - size for size - allow more natural light in to and more even spread of light within a room compared to a window. Ventilation does not have to be provided by a window. Flat roofs aren't defacto poorly insulated.

                      Openable roof lights are available and coomon. They can be fitted with blinds too. These functions can also be done remotely / electronically.

                      The room sounds a reasonable size. I wouldn't let the place as a 2-bed though. Not enough [internal] amenity space for that.
                      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
                        I think we're probably actually in agreement that it sounds likely there is nothing wrong with the room as a bedroom. (albeit not knowing the specifics of the skylight.)

                        But the way the op has written makes it unclear as to whether there is a seperate living area. If not, then I think this room would fall foul of HHSRS. (Which again sounds like we agree as you say 'I wouldn' t let it as a 2 bed).

                        Comment


                          #13
                          OP, if this is your first venture into buy to let property, I would play safe and go for a more conventional layout. Apart form anything else, unconventional rooms can make a property harder to sell when the time comes. Good luck!
                          'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I agree with mtg. I'm not totally clear on what you are proposing. But if it's correct that you wish to rent out the room in question with no seperate living space then you really need to either 'think again', and get your ass on google and do some serious research or like mtg says go conventional.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Hi sorry for my slightly delayed reply and thanks for all the posts. Probably a bad description on my part but there is a large kitchen living room space opening out on the patio garden. So there is plenty of living space. It feels like a decent size flat, all well proportioned. I think we are just most worried about falling foul of regs for fire escape routes etc, as its all a bit new to us. It's been really useful to hear what people say.

                              Thanks.

                              Comment

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