Thinking of converting commercial property to residential?

While renting out a property this way has its clear advantages, there’s a lot to consider. Ensure you’ve thought every detail through before you decide to go ahead.

Unsure where to start? Here’s a handy guide for landlords considering this path.

What to Consider When Changing Commercial Property to Residential

First things first, you need to decide whether this conversion is feasible for you at this time.

The Type of Property

There are many kinds of commercial building, from office to retail. Some of these may be easier to convert than others – so it’s vital you look into the specific details.

Class J allows developers a lot more freedom, however there are still some exemptions and restraints. Ensure you’re aware of these from the start.

Building Conversion Costs

While you’re not starting from scratch, it’s important to note that the cost of converting the existing building could be considerable.

Particularly if the building requires significant structural work, it might be more costly than expected.

Are you prepared for this?

Planning Permission Commercial to Residential

While it’s not always the case, you may require planning permission before going ahead with any work. Even if the building falls within Class J guidelines, you may still need permission.

Particularly if you plan on knocking down walls, for example, you may need to prepare for this extra expense.

Local Planning Laws

You may need to speak to the local planning authority, or local council, before going ahead with any work.

Location

Bear in mind that the location of commercial properties might not be ideal for residents.

Consider:

  • Transport links
  • Local amenities
  • Nearby schools
  • Parking
  • Noise pollution
  • Access for developers

Ask yourself, ‘Can you live in your commercial building?’ If the answer is no, it’s unlikely it will appeal to tenants either.

More and more people are choosing to rent over buy, but location can make or break this. Particularly if you’re trying to encourage a long-term tenancy, the area is everything. Tenants will only want to lay their roots in your property if they like their surroundings also.

Mortgage

Unless you have enough cash upfront, it’s likely you’ll need a mortgage to purchase the property.

This may mean the conversion is subject to your broker’s terms and conditions.

Insurance

While all landlords should consider insurance, when it comes to conversion, there’s an extra need to safeguard the building.

During the work planned to go ahead, are you covered? Consider the terms of your mortgage agreement – you may be required to get insurance.

Making a Commercial Conversion Liveable

There are a number of requirements that need to be met before tenants could live in the property. A commercial to residential conversion should consider the following:

  • Plumbing
  • Heating
  • Electrical safety
  • Removal of hazardous material
  • Fire safety

Ensure all these needs are met before you consider letting tenants move in.

Commercial Property Change of Use to Residential – Other Considerations

Of course, there’s more to a conversion than simply making the property safe.

Residential units have things that commercial spaces may not, such as storage areas. Also, how secure is the rental?

It’s a good idea to imagine yourself living in the commercial property. Does it feel like a home?

The Pros of Changing Commercial Property to Residential

There are some undeniable perks with converting commercial buildings, including:

  • You could potentially get a bigger property for a lower price
  • You may not need planning permission
  • There’s no property chain
  • Investing in property can be hugely profitable

The Cons of Using Commercial Property As Residential

While there are some positives, there are also some inevitable downsides:

  • Sometimes the conversion can be more costly than expected, particularly if planning permission is required
  • You’ll need a specialist buildings survey, which can be expensive
  • It’s easy for conversion costs to spiral out of control
  • Conversions can run on for longer than anticipated

Meeting Your Requirements as a Landlord

Decided this is direction you want to take as a landlord? This journey is both an exciting and difficult one.

As with any property, there are a number of requirements you’ll need to meet as a landlord. But, you’ll also want to ensure your investment is protected every step of the way.

From check-in to check-out, No Letting Go will ensure you’re meeting all the necessary safety standards. As well as this, we’ll ensure your tenants are looking after the property as requested. Our comprehensive property inventory services offer you peace of mind, while making you the best landlord you can be!

I am always interested in great property stories around the world and read an interesting article on CNN World about how it is now cheaper to buy than rent in most US cities ( http://money.cnn.com/2011/08/16/real_estate/buy_rent/ ) – if only that were the case in the UK.

Nick

Leading providers of let property cover, Total Landlord Insurance, have just added Total Landlord Emergency Cover to their portfolio of insurance products
designed specifically for landlords.
Total Landlord Emergency Cover is a cost-effective insurance product that provides immediate assistance in the event of a domestic emergency at a rental
property.
The policy provides cover 24 hours a day 365 days a year for call out charges, labour and repairs for emergencies such as the breakdown of the heating system, plumbing and drainage problems.
Broking Manager, Steve Barnes, said: “Domestic emergencies at landlord’s rental properties can be inconvenient and sometimes difficult to resolve. It is not just boilers that go wrong, plumbing, drains and lost keys can cause inconvenience for landlords. At just £70 per property we feel that this policy represents excellent value for money and provides reassurance for both landlords and tenants that emergency assistance is only a phone call away. Introductory discounts are also available for limited period”.
Total Landlord Insurance will also be extending their range of landlord focussed products to include Rent Guarantee insurance and Tenant Referencing soon.

Steve continued: “Our customers are at the heart of our business and we will be adding more products and services to our website to provide landlords with a one stop solution for their insurance needs”.

For more information on Total Landlord Emergency Cover go to www.totallandlordinsurance.co.uk or call on 0800 63 43 880.

This article up from Property Drum by Operations Manager for ARLA, Ian Potter, further highlights how critical inventories with schedule of condition report have become.

With such large sums of money at stake, ARLA has called on tenants and landlords to consider the benefits of establishing a comprehensive property inventory check upon the commencement of a new let.

Ian Potter, Operations Manager of ARLA, said, “Deposit disputes can be one of the biggest problems for both parties involved in any rental property, and many potential issues can be avoided if a professional inventory is prepared.

“A licensed letting agent will offer you the best advice on checking to see if an existing inventory is available or whether any extra charges are invoked in drawing up a new document. A true inventory is not simply a list of items in a property – it also includes a description of the condition and cleanliness at the start and finish of the tenancy, enabling one to be compared against the other with clarity and accuracy.

“Photographs are a good support for comments made in a written inventory but should not be considered a replacement for the written word. Photographs which are unsigned and undated generally are not worth the effort, so make sure they are accepted at the outset and again at the check-out stage.”

Ian Potter said, “A well put-together inventory can give both landlords and tenants peace of mind throughout the occupation period. The inventory is not designed to catch tenants out, but rather to ensure both parties are in agreement over the quality of the property being rented.

“If conducted correctly, and agreed by both tenant and landlord, an inventory should form a key point of reference for any deposit-return queries or issues over reported damage. In recognition of the importance of inventories ARLA has its own sub division, the Association of Professional Inventory Providers, whose members have passed an accreditation exam as well as having a Code of Practice to follow.”

For Professional Inventory Management Services throughout the UK talk to No Letting Go, APIP members, who can provide all inventory management services including Inventory, Check In, Propert Visits and Check Outs with full dilapidations reports. Contact us on 0800 8815 366 or contact one of our local offices at www.nolettinggo.co.uk/contact