Is the listed flat too small?

Is the listed flat too small?

9:59 AM, 27th April 2021, About 6 months ago 19

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I am looking at purchasing a Grade 2 listed property that has already been converted into flats. The ground floor flat is small (22 sq m) BUT does have access to a private courtyard, a separate shower room and a separate bedroom.

1. As it is not a new build where 37 sqm is the min standard, can I still rent this out?

2. I understand that external space can be added to the total floorspace, but how much?

Is there a min standard of space for a flat when it comes to quirky Grade 2 listed properties? I cannot extend the space in any way.

Any Advice Anyone?

Reluctant Landlord



Comments

by Neil Patterson

10:08 AM, 27th April 2021, About 6 months ago

The minimum government rules on rented room size are:
Rooms used for sleeping by one person over 10 years old have to be at least 6.51 square metres and those sleeping two people over 10 years old have had to at least 10.22 square metres. The area must include a minimum headroom as well.

The minimum size for lender criteria is often 26sqm so this may cause an issue.

by DSR

10:26 AM, 27th April 2021, About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Neil Patterson at 27/04/2021 - 10:08
But it is not a renting room situation not an HMO but a small flat/bedsit with separate bathroom bedroom and lounge/kitchen area. The Lounge and bedroom are both over the min room size as you have stated for one person over 10 years old.
The property will be a cash purchase not a BTL or mortgage on it.

by Richard P

21:52 PM, 28th April 2021, About 6 months ago

I have similar , 4 x self contained studios all very nice own kitchens and bathrooms, however they all under 20 sq meters , the conversion was done 20 years ago - and whilst they are all fully self contained units, own gas and electric meter , all on separate council tax many lenders just wont touch them, so remember if your paying cash you will most likely have to sell to another cash buyer, so don't over pay - my return is very good as the units are small but have everything including washer/dryer and they rent very quickly

by DSR

7:21 AM, 29th April 2021, About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Richard P at 28/04/2021 - 21:52
Thanks for replying. I'm not interested at this stage about selling (but aware it would be to a cash buyer) but was more concerned to understand if there is any legislation applying to min flat size applicable to already existing converted/older buildings BEFORE the new build min standard came into effect.

by Richard P

12:14 PM, 29th April 2021, About 6 months ago

I will let others reply, but all I know is my Council are very happy to charge each unit Council Tax and they rent very easily , as for income , I get an extra £1500 a month for that floor , so I have no complaints

by Dancinglandlord

8:25 AM, 1st May 2021, About 6 months ago

Leeds City Council latest newsletter: Crowding & Space - Six into one won't go.

Here's a scenario we often hear in Leeds. Imagine yourself at a property auction eagerly waiting to bid on an 'amazing' investment opportunity, a terraced house which some years ago was converted into six fully self-contained flats (or sometimes even more). Yield for the property is apparently more than 20% however you know the average yield for a residential rental property in the UK is between 6% and 8%. Do you hear any alarm bells ringing? Are you asking yourself whilst waiting to bid, if this property has such a fantastic yield, why is it being sold? You may already know, just like car auctioneers, property auctioneers will sell practically anything they're asked to - because due diligence is up to the buyer. You may also know that even if a property has a certificate of lawful use (or indeed approval under permitted development), it’s still not exempt from action under the Housing Health & Safety Rating System (HHSRS) - so buyers beware! Despite all the warning signs you raise your hand and win the bid and pay the potentially inflated price for this converted property. You’re the proud owner of a star performer in your expanding property portfolio.

Sometime later, our officers inspect the property and find all six of the 'flats' to be undersized when assessed using the HHSRS so we issue prohibition orders. Belatedly, you try to get retrospective planning permission for the flats however planners advise a one bedroom flat must be a minimum of 37m². You are left with a property which realistically, after expensive remedial works, can only be let to a single family. Your amazing yield evaporates as does a significant chunk of what you thought was the property value.

Over the past three years we have issued one hundred and eighty prohibition orders primarily on illegally over-developed properties. We have attended tribunals and seen landlord appeals against prohibition orders dismissed because our team has acted correctly. It's not complicated. We ask some very simple questions before taking action such as...how big is the room, what functions is the room expected to serve and can all basic facilities and furniture items associated with those functions be safely accommodated within the room ? Our new Crowding & Space guidance document, which contains more information including the latest Crowding and Space worked examples, will be published on our webpage by the time of our June 2021 newsletter.

by Jessie Jones

8:50 AM, 1st May 2021, About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Dancinglandlord at 01/05/2021 - 08:25
That is useful information regarding the number of prohibition orders. However, the requirement for 37sq m is only for new builds, so if you are using the HHSRS then what numerical figures do you use for room sizes etc before you issue a prohibition notice? HHSRS talks about 'overcrowding' but does not quantify this. There are so many guidelines available but the only legislated figures I can find is this 37sq m for new builds. All the other guidelines appear to be different councils interpretation of what they think this means.
Also, if a property with 2 flats has to be converted back into a single property, what happens to the family that has now been made homeless, given the acute shortage of accommodation?

by Bonnystreet (Town) Planning

9:02 AM, 1st May 2021, About 6 months ago

The 37 sqm minima is part of planning legislation ONLY and not relevant to your situation. You can safely ignore it.

The Housing Act does stipulate minimum room size standards, but this is in relation to HMOs which your property is not.

But yes, lenders could find problems with the unit size.

by DSR

7:29 AM, 2nd May 2021, About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Bonnystreet (Town) Planning at 01/05/2021 - 09:02
So on the basis of all the info in the posts previously, (and applied to my original post scenario)
1. if it is not a new build
2. the flat is only ever occupied by one person, (so it cant be classed as overcrowded despite there being no actual definition of this)
3. the bedroom size is over the min according to the Housing Act (but again not applicable as it is not an HMO) ,

it is entirely legal for me to let?? Yes?

by Dancinglandlord

9:25 AM, 2nd May 2021, About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by DSR at 02/05/2021 - 07:29
Why don’t you ask your planning department and environmental health? That would seem entirely logical unless you have already bought this flat.

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