A Guide to Converting Commercial Property to Residential

A Guide to Converting Commercial Property to Residential

Altering a commercial property – such as offices, shops or warehouses – into residential property can be a useful strategy for savvy investors. Here, our Residential Conveyancing and Commercial Conveyancing Solicitors offer guidance on some of the essential factors you should consider.

Can I convert a commercial property into residential property?

The simple answer is 'yes'. However, before you can do so, it is likely you will need planning permission. If you begin the process of converting your commercial property without getting approval, you could be in breach of planning regulations. This can have significant legal and financial implications.

What is planning permission?

Planning permission is authorisation from the government to carry out building work on land or property. Getting permission to undertake this work will often depend on certain conditions set out by your Local Planning Authority (LPA). You will usually have to apply for planning permission if you intend to:

  • Build a property
  • Change the use of a property
  • Make changes to the exterior of a property – e.g. build an extension

How do I get planning permission?

You will need to apply to the LPA department of your local council. It is crucial to engage with your LPA early in the process as each LPA operates differently, so getting advice at the outset can save time and money later in the process.

It is worth noting that planning permission will not always be needed. Changes made to the planning rules in 2013 mean that you can convert some types of commercial properties without the need for full planning permission.

What are the benefits of converting commercial property to residential?

  • In many cases, you will get a much larger property for your money.
  • Offices are often centrally located and will be attractive residential lets as a consequence.
  • Even if you do need planning permission, applications will often be successful as the government’s National Planning Policy Framework prioritises making use of empty buildings.
  • The commercial property market is quite saturated, which means that values tend to be lower.
  • If a commercial property is vacant, the owner is not earning from it – they may be willing to accept a lower price so that they can sell the property.
  • As commercial properties will require complete refitting, you are free to convert into high-quality homes with a higher ROI.

Contact our Commercial Conveyancing Solicitors in Sheffield

If you would like more advice on buying commercial property for residential conversion, call Wilford Smith’s on 0808 168 5813 or complete our online enquiry form.

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