The UK government has announced a new planning policy that will allow homeowners to convert their houses into two flats without needing planning permission, as long as they do not change the external appearance of the house.
The policy aims to increase the supply of housing, especially for first-time buyers and renters, and also help older homeowners to downsize or generate income from their property.
The policy is expected to come into effect in 2024, following a consultation period.
The government has also made it easier for people to buy a home with a low deposit, and allocated £32 million to speed up the planning process and create new housing areas.
The policy may offer various benefits for different groups of people, such as:
First-time buyers and renters: They may be able to access more affordable and accessible housing options, as flats may be cheaper and more available than houses.
Landlords and property investors may be able to increase their rental income and capital gains, as they can create two flats from one house and charge higher rents or sell them separately.
Older homeowners may be able to downsize in their own homes, by living in one flat and renting or selling the other one. This can help them to reduce their living costs, free up some equity, and stay in their communities.
The policy may also pose some challenges and risks for homeowners, such as:
Compliance with building regulations and other legal requirements: They may need to comply with building regulations and other legal requirements, such as obtaining consent from their mortgage lender, their insurer, their freeholder, and their neighbours.
Additional Cost: They may incur additional costs and responsibilities, such as hiring contractors, installing utilities, paying taxes, and obtaining certificates. They may also have to pay capital gains tax if they sell one or both of the flats, unless they qualify for an exemption or a relief.
Uncertainty / Competition: They may face uncertainty and competition in the housing market, as the demand and supply of flats may vary depending on the location, the condition, and the size of their property. They may not be able to find suitable tenants or buyers for their flats, or they may have to lower their rents or prices to attract them. They may also face competition from other homeowners who are converting their houses into flats, or from new developments that are being built in their area.
In conclusion, while this policy offers more flexibility and choice for people who want to adapt their properties to suit their needs or preferences, it also poses potential risks and challenges. Therefore, it is important that homeowners who are considering converting their houses into two flats consult with their local planning authority before proceeding with any works.