Martin Codd, partner in the Real Estate Division at Penningtons Solicitors LLP, was quoted in an article on converting shops into homes in The Times on Friday 23 August. A specialist on this subject, Martin has written several articles on the issues to consider and pitfalls to avoid when converting commercial premises into residential properties.
From 1 October 2012, existing permitted development rights - which dispense with the need for planning permission - were extended to allow space above shops and other town centre uses to be converted into two (rather than one) flats.
The Times’ article looked at the differing perspectives on this change in the planning law together with a number of case studies:
“The proposals form part of a Department for Communities and Local Government-permitted development rights consultation paper that would allow empty high street shops to be converted into homes without planning permission. This could make a major impact, as it is generally difficult for a private buyer to get a residential mortgage on a shop unit that does not have permission.
“According to the British Retail Consortium, one in eight shops across the UK is empty. Ironically, then, that an often cited barrier to converting a shop into a home is the difficulty of finding a shop to buy. In many areas, even though trade may be struggling, freehold landlords are reluctant to offload their long-term investments … perhaps the biggest hurdle is that banks and building societies are not only reluctant to offer residential mortgages on commercial property, but business financiers are reluctant to lend to buyers who are not intending to simply invest and then rent out a property when it has been redeveloped.
"Martin Codd, a property specialist at Penningtons Solicitors, points out that conversion from retail to residential might mean that you have to meet additional building regulations. You need to factor this in when you are viewing. Factor in, too, the potential council tax, as when conversion is complete the property is likely to be rebranded. “Also, consider what building materials you might need,” Codd adds. “Covenants requiring conversions to remain in keeping with the surrounding area are common, which may have cost implications.” "
To read the full article in The Times, please click here.