How do I go about splitting a property into two?
Q: I would like to split a property I want to buy into two apartments. What do I need to consider?
If you are about to buy this new property with the aim of splitting it into two, then you’ll want to tell the solicitor dealing with the legal transaction on your behalf of your plans and ask them to identify any legal barriers to you doing so once the purchase has gone through (for example, any caveats in the deeds). They will also be able to advise on ownership of the freehold and drawing up leases for separate dwellings, which will be important if you ever want to sell one of the properties.
The biggest consideration beyond the legal side of things will be planning implications. Your first port of call should be the planning department of your local council because you are likely to need planning permission. There may be local planning policies which mean that you will not get permission such as minimum room/flat sizes, parking, a general policy of not allowing conversions to flats.
If they say there isn’t any issue to the conversion in principle, then you should get in touch with Building Control to find out their requirements. There will be minimum standards for sound proofing, insulation, fire safety measures, for example. You will also probably need to employ someone to draw up plans for planning permission and building control.
You will also need to talk to the utility companies so that each address has its own gas, electricity and water meters. This will come at an additional cost particularly if you have to upgrade your supply. Again there may be Building Regulation implications here as well.
There may also be tax implications. This depends on what you intend to do with the property afterwards. Converting a property into flats to maximise profits on sale is not always straightforward from a tax perspective. The end result will vary depending on the circumstances.
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