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Turning a house into flats

Converting houses into flats is becoming increasingly popular. There’s a high demand for flats in London, and splitting a property into units can maximise both rental income in the short-term, and profit on sale in the long-term.

But where do you start? Here’s my quick guide on everything you need to know about converting a house into flats…

Research the market


Before you even start thinking about conversion, you must make sure the flats you’re planning on building will be wanted in the area.

Do some research, and ask us about the current market; an agent will be able to give you expert advice about what’s selling quickly, what’s not, and the new hotspot areas. If four bedroom properties aren’t shifting but studios or one bedroom flats are, conversion seems sensible.

Planning implications

The next thing to do is contact the planning department of your local council, as you’re likely to need planning permission. If you’re given the go ahead, you’ll then need to apply for Building Regulations before you start building.


Costs will vary hugely from property to property, depending on the size, condition and the number of flats you’re converting. We’d say you will expect to pay around £25,000 for a basic conversion, which would include putting up walls, installing bathrooms and central heating units. (You’ll need to talk to the utility companies so that each address has its own gas, electricity and water meters.)

There are lots of things you’ll need to consider when budgeting for the project, including: 

  • Planning approval from the local planning department
  • Building regulation approval
  • Installing new utility meters
  • Fitting a new kitchen and bathroom
  • Finance for development
  • Sound deadening & tests
  • Separate boilers
  • Separate heating systems
  • Creating a second entrance
  • Decorating costs


It’s imperative you shop around for the best mortgage rates and loans, as this will be where your profit margin is made.

The legal stuff

Make sure you tell the solicitor dealing with the legal transaction of your plans to convert, and ask them to identify any legal barriers to you doing so once the sale is complete - e.g. caveats in the deeds. Your solicitor will also be able to draw up leases for separate dwellings, which you’ll need if you plan on selling the properties.

Robert Nichols is managing director of Portico London estate agents

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