House conversion to two flats

24 May 2016
Reaction score
United Kingdom
Good morning all,

this is my first post please be gentle with me!

my inlaws are both rapidly approaching retirement age and neither have a private pension, they would like to use some of the savings they have to split their property into two x 2 bedroom flats.

they intend to live in the ground floor flat and rent the upstairs flat to provide them with a much needed income in retirement.

i would greatly like some advice on the issues below, i work in the building trade (electrician) so have people i can call upon to help with proposed works;

information about the property:
  1. on their road only one other house has been turned to flats and this was done with retrospective planning some time ago (late 1990's) -they would not change the front of the house just install two doors inside the one front door
  2. They will not be able to provide garden access to the first floor flat se there is a tiles sloped flat roof from that runs the full width of the property from a previous extension in the 80's
  3. it is situated in the borough of Barnet
  4. there is ample off street parking 4/5 car spaces on drive
Questions i would like help with:
  1. how easy is it to split the utilities i.e. gas, electric, water - will the utility companies immediately inform the council that there is a second dwelling in the one abode or will they just be happy to set you up as they have extra income?
  2. How easy is it to add a second council tax account for the 1st floor flat or again are they linked to planning?
  3. They intend to install a window in the garage to the front of the property to form a kitchen am i correct that this requires planning permission?
  4. looking at it i am pretty sure they will not get planning permission to change into two flats, can you get in trouble for boing this is the door on the street does not change and you have ZERO intension of selling the upper property it is solely to generate an income
They are very keen not to move out of the area and not to downsize as their support network is close by and 2 bedroom flats in the area with a garden are roughly 60-70% of the value of their property and once they have paid stamp duty and selling fee they are left with very little and no income. this is something that really has to happen - i will of course ensure the flats meet with all building feds for multiple dwellings, soundproofing, fire etc...

any advice is really welcome, please message here or privately with any questions / advice you have

thank you
Sponsored Links
how easy is it to split the utilities i.e. gas, electric, water - will the utility companies immediately inform the council that there is a second dwelling in the one abode or will they just be happy to set you up as they have extra income?

The utility companies will not inform the council. Informing the council is your task before you start work. It is 99% certain that you will need planning permission and building control approval for the conversion into two flats.

You could go ahead and hope the council never find out. But if ( when ) the council did discover the house was converted into two flats then your parents would be facing a very difficult legal situation.
Thank you Bernard,

i thought that would be the case regarding the utilities, would it be the same for the council tax?

regarding planning, the issue we have is that it is almost 100% certain that they will refuse planning on the grounds that there is not a wide president set on their road and that they are unable to provide garden access - leaving them on a very sticky wicket
Access to a garden isn't an inalienable right- how many people live in flats with no garden? Means of escape from the upstairs flat will be important (building regs) as will acoustic separation between 1st floor and ground floor (building regs). Council tax- don't worry about that yet, they'll be more than willing to take money off you without you volunteering it :).

Dunno if Barnet have a 'chat with your planners for free or not very much' facility- if they do then use it. Precedent is not as important as you think- it is whether your proposed alterations conflict with the local plan or national legislation that matters. For instance converting the garage to a kitchen could be a problem but there is sufficient off street parking. The window in the garage could cause an overlooking problem so use obscure glass. Or it might have to be a door (to maintain the look of the street).

This could be a fairly pricey scheme but well worth the effort down there. Not one that can be done on the back of a fag packet though.
Sponsored Links
The strong point in your application is that you are creating another "home" in the area where it seems there is a shortage of affordable rentable property.

If you do get permission and achieve the conversion then be very careful about who your parents accept as tenants. Use a reputable letting agency to vet the prospective tenants, the risk of nightmare tenants living above is one reason to think twice about converting one's main residence into two flats
I am not an expert in this area - But it sounds like your problem is made overly complex because you want 2 front doors (be they internal). If you remove the requirement for 2 front doors then the upstairs could be rented out in the same way that anyone can rent out a spare room.
There is then no need to have separate services, or adjust the property for council tax. The need for sound proofing will also be negated.

You ca rent on a Bills inc or shared bills basis

You could still have internal doors separating the 2 living areas - it is also possible that these doors happen to have locks.
Thank you all,

its a bit of a chicken and egg scenario, we have had drawings completed of the proposed works to ground and 1st floor, the scary thing is once we go to planning with this there is no going back should we get a negative response.

with regards tenants the in-laws already have someone in mind that they know through a close family friend, they would not like to "split bills" going forward they would ideally like to have it separate utilities. i know this then increases the costs with separate boilers / fuse boards etc but hey thats why they have a son in law thats an electrician (don't you love a love job)

thank you Geoff, they are keen to still install sound proofing etc as they do not want to hear the people upstairs and my father in-law likes the TV turned up as he is getting a little mutton

The thing to do is to get hold of the local development plan for Barnet and see what it says about affordable housing needs. You could talk to your councillor too who would be able to check the local plan policy for you.

In a nutshell it boils down to how many flats are in the borough, so the lack of them nearby is a good sign not a bad one. Like seaside towns such as Margate have tons of flats and they want houses there now.

I am sure you chances are decent in Barnet providing the house is suitable and meets regs.

Regarding the door, the second flat door often goes at the top of the stairs, or it used to anyway. But maybe downstairs is better.

DIYnot Local

Staff member

If you need to find a tradesperson to get your job done, please try our local search below, or if you are doing it yourself you can find suppliers local to you.

Select the supplier or trade you require, enter your location to begin your search.

Are you a trade or supplier? You can create your listing free at DIYnot Local

Sponsored Links