buying a house and splitting into flats. how hard?

shahedz

Distinguished Member
How easy or hard is it to buy a house and split into two flats?
Myself and a friend want to buy a house and do the above, but do you require specific planning permission or can you do it to any house?
how easy is it to register two flats and convert the meters etc to represent 2 homes?

cheers
 

signs

Banned
How easy or hard is it to buy a house and split into two flats?
Myself and a friend want to buy a house and do the above, but do you require specific planning permission or can you do it to any house?
how easy is it to register two flats and convert the meters etc to represent 2 homes?

cheers

no idea ......but good luck (just thought it needed a bump, as I'm sure somebody could help Shahedz out)
 

lord-dudester

Well-known Member
you'll definately need planning permission, building regs, and a possible change of tenure from freehold to leasehold.

before you even think about gas meters and water mains, get some legal advice or see an estate agent, it's easily done, but could cost you a few quid quite easily!


good luck
 

John Henry

Active Member
Have you got any experience in building?

If not, get some GOOD advice before you start, it helps to have friends in building as well.

P.S. Your going to need to do alot of reading.
 

shahedz

Distinguished Member
No first hand experience , have a very good set of builders to hand- Used them to compleltey gut out and redo my mum's house.

I live in London and want a small flat for investment and my mate wants one to live in so was thinking of buying a house togther and splitting into 2 flats.

Have no experience in doing that bit, was wondering if you could convert any house you wanted or whether they were only specific houses?

has anyone here done that?
 

John Henry

Active Member
In London most of the house's are converted into flats, I've seen many 3-4 bedroom house's converted into 5 flats taking £150-£200 rent PW.
 

unique

Moderator
don't forget that the legal issues can be as important as the building side of things. whilst you can just build or knock down walls and doorways, make sure you get legal advice and clarify everything in writing as to who owns what, and who is responsible for what, from the purchase, to paying for the building works, to responsibility for bills etc

reason being if you fall out, which can happen tomorrow over a little thing (ie. a woman) the fall out can be pretty bad, and if things aren't signed on paper it can be a nightmare

my old boss had a friend who got a property, he paid to get it done up, and then his share was to own the property side and rent it to his friend to trade inside. i told him he should get eveything signed legally in writing, but he didn't do it "because you can't ask your best friend to do that, i've been friends with him for 20+ years". when things went wrong, they were at each others throats violently and harshly for years until one of them died. it didn't just affect the pair of them, but friends and family who were almost forced to take sides. so take my advice, and think about it as doing yourselves both a massive favour

you could also consider just buying the property together and flat sharing, altho if you want more privacy (ie. to invite women/men/animals over for orgies and stuff) then splitting into flats is a good idea if it's physically possible. folks do it on them tv shows like changing rooms all the time, but they get architechts and legal advice (usually)
 

Accylad

Distinguished Member
In theory any house can be converted to flats but not without first getting Building Regulation and Planning approval.

Building Regs will require you to upgrade the fire resistance and sound insulation between the flats which can be very expensive if the floors etc. also need extra support to take the increase in loads.

You will also have to consider means of escape from the flats in case of fire together with provision for refuse disposal.
 

klr10

Active Member
If the house is in London you may have issues with planning permission in some areas due to inadequate parking provisions. I was told I would be unlikely to get permission for my house because there is already a major parking problem in my road.

I'd be interested in the Capital Gains Tax side of converting, if you convert your sole dwelling into flats and sell off part of your home, do you have to pay the CG tax?
 

Ayub

Distinguished Member
How easy or hard is it to buy a house and split into two flats?
Myself and a friend want to buy a house and do the above, but do you require specific planning permission or can you do it to any house?
how easy is it to register two flats and convert the meters etc to represent 2 homes?

cheers

Not that i know of, If you do then try your council website and see what they have to say.

As for splitting this all depends on the layout of the property.Very hard to give advise over a forum, anyway...

you have 2 options a: install a seperate meter ( with a cost of £500 for gas and electric ) or do what we have b installing your own charge card system and paying the gas leccy bill yourself. A lillte like paug but you get the bill they come to you for the top up, Its software driven to its easy as pie.

If you need further into i will forward my contact number and speak to you.
 

mason

Active Member
I havent done it yet- but will do as soon as iam succesful in buying a house.

i have been out bid a few times for suitable properties but thats normal for the type of property i am looking at.

as for expert advice- i start with my local planning department... i dont know how it is done south of the border but its easy enough up here. i simply find the ideal property that is for sale- get a copy of the buildings existing plans and then get my builder (how is my business partner) to change them to show a divide and proposed changes... andthen take them done to the local planning and ask to see the planning manager and then he looks them over (usually then and there) and then gives me a verbal on whether or not the plans are good enough!!
 

shahedz

Distinguished Member
cheers for your help lads,

sound insutlation and load bearing are two things i will definitley bring up, i think contacting the council this week is the first thing we need to do,

Ayub will take you up on that offer once i get a little further, thanks mate
 

shahedz

Distinguished Member
I havent done it yet- but will do as soon as iam succesful in buying a house.

i have been out bid a few times for suitable properties but thats normal for the type of property i am looking at.

as for expert advice- i start with my local planning department... i dont know how it is done south of the border but its easy enough up here. i simply find the ideal property that is for sale- get a copy of the buildings existing plans and then get my builder (how is my business partner) to change them to show a divide and proposed changes... andthen take them done to the local planning and ask to see the planning manager and then he looks them over (usually then and there) and then gives me a verbal on whether or not the plans are good enough!!

Mason if you could let me know of any problems you come across as you go along that would be great, cheers fellas
 

John Henry

Active Member
My friend in London is a builder and he own's the property where I use to stay, he converted the house into 5 flats and I was there when he did the loft conversion.

It took a while but looked good in the end, I learnt alot from it aswell.
 

Razor

Distinguished Member
I converted a property last year and turned into 4 studios and 2 one bedroom flats. You will need build regs, planning, environmental health, separate services for electric, water etc. The property will have to be registered for separate council tax and the deeds will have to be split etc. Consideration for parking is also a big issue.

If you are not in the business it is not something I wouldn't advise doing. There are loads of risks and pitfalls with property and big money is involved. If how ever you have experience in this field then you can make allot of money.

Are you looking to sell or keep and rent?
 

Razor

Distinguished Member
You will also have to comply to the local councils regulations for the minimum square footage. I know Harrow made the square footage just slightly above what a half 3 bed semi has. They did this due to the amount of conversions which were happening in Harrow, the streets became full of cars and it became a problem. You can find out the regulations online at your local councils website. It varies from borough to borough.
 

shahedz

Distinguished Member
HI Razor

Long time no see mate!
Cheers for you reply, I am looking to buy a 3 bedroom and convert to 2 flats. My mate will keep one and I will rent out the other, It will be in Enfield.

is it possible to get an answer whether it can be done fairly quickly? from the planning office , I wouldnt want to commit to a property only to find out it cant be done
 

Razor

Distinguished Member
HI Razor

Long time no see mate!
Cheers for you reply, I am looking to buy a 3 bedroom and convert to 2 flats. My mate will keep one and I will rent out the other, It will be in Enfield.

is it possible to get an answer whether it can be done fairly quickly? from the planning office , I wouldnt want to commit to a property only to find out it cant be done


Hello Shahedz, it has been a while.

Planning officers never commit to anything and getting a straight yes or no is near impossible. Loads of maybes and you basically just get told to put it into planning which is no good as this cost time/money and at least a 6-8 week wait.

If I was you I would look at other similar properties on the street and see if they have been converted. If so how long ago? The more recent the better.

Has your property got space for parking? You will need 1 for each flat plus 1 for a visitor. If it cant cope with this then you answer will more than likely be a no. They also want to see space for a green area in the front, if you want to put the parking there.

Check the local authority and see what their square footage is for the total flat. It changes with the type of property.

ie Studio 40m2, One bed flat 50m2

See if your room sizes meet the minimum (this should be fine if you are only splitting into 2 flats.)

Also prepare for the fact that your planning application may be refused the first time it is put forward. This is not uncommon and can cost you allot in lost rent and mortgage payments.

Get quotes for new services like electric/gas and water. This can be very costly and varies allot from property to property. I have seen bills of over £10,000 due to the location of certain things.

You will probably need a fire alarm system to be installed. They can also be pricey and expect to pay around the £5,000 mark depending on layout and requirements.

Most of the time splitting into two properties doesnt give you any real profit and can actually cost you more. You make you money when you split it up into more properties. Say 4 studios instead of 2 one bed flats.

How many sq foot is the property?

I hope this helps you out a bit.
 

shahedz

Distinguished Member
HI Razor

cheers for the advice on the minimum square foot. will check that out immediatley,

There has been one done 6 months ago, the fire alarm system :eek: that is something i didnt anticipatee-this is the exact info i need, cheers mate

Sqaure foot wise i am not sure, its ana average 3 bed 1930's semi in North London ( sorry i cant be more precise as you can tell i am not very clued up here)

the reason we want to do this is that the flats are quite expensive and we were hoping if we could get a cheap house that needs renovation if we could split it into flats we were hoping it was a cheap way to get on the property ladder.
 

Razor

Distinguished Member
There are allot of fire regulations to consider.

Fireproof the stair case
Double tac the ceiling on the ground floor for sound and fire. A sound test will have to be carried out to see if it is suitable. If not it fails. You may also need to insulate the ceiling void on the ground floor.
Fire doors and smoke strips
Smoke and heat detectors
Fire alarm
Emergency lighting
If you are doing a lounge dinner make sure that the kitchen area isnt on your way out of the room.


You will also have to rewire the property and install two separate heating systems.

Again sound insulation is very important in flat conversions. This is not cheap.

An average 3 bed semi unextended is approx 900sq feet (inc stairs and hallway). I think the minimum is around 50m2 for a 1 bed flat. You can extend the property to accommodate but this is costly. You may even have to go into the loft to get the same space as on the upper flat as you do on the ground floor with an extension. Three floors brings in more fire regs and insulation of the first floor ceiling. Fire regs on a three floor building can be different to a two floor building.

Basically there is allot of work and hidden costs involved. It isnt really worth it unless you are making more dwellings.

How much is the house and how much would 1 flat cost in a similar conversion? Not a new build.

Add up all the building works and development fees, then the mortgage payments whilst it is empty and then see if it is really worth it.

The best houses are the old edwarding/victorian high ceiling properties as these have more square foot to mess around with. The normal 3 bed semi isnt the best for conversion unless it has had a massive extension already done (1600+ square foot).

:)
 

shahedz

Distinguished Member
Razor

cheers for your reply. that is an excellent reply as bringing in all the factors which were unknown to me now sheds a complete different light into it.

Will carfeully weigh up factors now. first thing i think i need to talk to my builder and see if he has done anything similar

cheers mate most appreciated
 

Razor

Distinguished Member
Razor

cheers for your reply. that is an excellent reply as bringing in all the factors which were unknown to me now sheds a complete different light into it.

Will carfeully weigh up factors now. first thing i think i need to talk to my builder and see if he has done anything similar

cheers mate most appreciated


Only to glad to help shahedz,

Its always best to find out about these things before rather than after. Building materials are never cheap even at trade.

Nothing is impossible but sometimes its just not worth the trouble or the cash. I run a building company and so pay trade prices for everything. Its hard to make a good return unless you have a fair bit of property to play with. If you could get 3 dwellings or more then your project has a far better chance of a good return. Most of the time the profit to risk ratio is to high to consider with splitting into two dwellings.

A basic example:

3 bed semi - £250,000
1 Bed Flat - £150,000
Studio - £110,000

Convert the 3 bed semi into 2 x 1 bed and 1 studio
Building works (rear extension, loft conversion, refurb, services) and mortgage payments £100,000

Project cost - £350,000

Equity £410,000

Profit - £60,000
 

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