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Property Conversions - The Basics

THE QUESTION

I have a property which is a large freehold semi-detached (around 140sqm), that will split nicely into 2x 2 beds (houses not flats), my question is do I need planning permission, and, if I split the properties into leaseholds, do we need 2x utility supplies to the property, or can we just split the existing supply?

THE ANSWER

Planning - absolutely planning permission is needed. Failing to get it will render each property unmortgageable - no mortgage lender lends on illegally converted properties. Plus the planners can issue an enforcement notice ordering you to return it to one house again, or doing it for you and suing you for the cost if you don't .

Freehold v Leasehold - It would be dumb not to split the properties into two titles and even dumber to make them leasehold.

90% + of houses in the UK are freehold, not leasehold.  Leasehold properties are overwhelmingly flats, not houses.  Leasehold houses are substantially more difficult to get a mortgage on and almost impossible to get good rate mortgages on.  The sensible option is to split the titles to make two freehold houses.

Utilities - Trying to run self-contained properties off the same utilities is major league cheap-skating.  Do you see any builders building houses that share utilities?  Of course not.  If you take on a project like this, do it property and split the utilities.

While this means more work (and probably money) needs to be invested up front, doing it properly means that your properties will earn more, be worth more and cost less in the long-run.

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