What to do when converting commercial property to residential

Advice from Ben Tatters at Pearson Legal

OUR Saddleworth high streets look very different than they did a few years ago and sadly the 2020 coronavirus pandemic has led to the closure of some local businesses.

On the flip side, our villages are lovely places to live and work and as more of us now work from home more housing is needed.

With a keen eye on not over developing our villages, it seems many commercial property owners and landlords are looking at converting their properties into residential homes as the high street takes a hit and leases do not get renewed.

Often a commercial property’s central location, with good transportation links and close proximity to other services and facilities, also makes it attractive to the housing market and getting the right specialist legal advice can often help landlords avoid costly mistakes.

Currently stamp duty relief and additional lower cost commercial property make it a good buy for any would-be investor looking to take a chance on a redevelopment. It has happened before when many local pubs changed use and became either flats or local small express supermarkets.

“Pre Covid-19 many of our local shopping areas had diversified into service and hospitality industries; nail bars, salons and coffee shops fill our town and village centres but more and more our commercial property landlords and owners are asking us about the options to convert shops and small commercial units into housing,” said commercial property solicitor Ben Tatters.

“Full planning permission is not always needed as such a change of use in many cases are allowed under General Permitted Development.”

General Permitted Development rights allows some types of commercial properties to be converted without consent. Always check with the local authority as you may be in breach and this could cause future legal problems.

When converting a commercial property to a residential dwelling, the location and size of the property are key.

Many shops and other commercial premises are close to or already within residential areas and some were formerly houses. Converting these properties back into homes is often more straightforward and brings people into our village centres to patronise the shops and restaurants on their door step.

Conversions in town will usually be to apartments or HMOs. These can require planning permission and have certain conditions attached so it is important to get early advice.

For advice on all commercial property matters contact the Pearson Commercial Property team on 0161 785 3500 or email ben.tatters@pearsonlegal.co.uk

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