I have bought a five bedroom house and I would like to convert it into three flats, which I then plan to rent out. I am not extending the house but will I need planning permission?

Carrying out building works to a property, particularly internal alterations or modest single storey extensions, may not require planning permission because they are 'permitted development' under the planning rules. However, the requirements do change over time and it's always sensible to approach your local authority at an early stage when you are planning a building project - and certainly before you start the work!

Although you may not be looking to change the building's physical footprint or external appearance, you will still need to obtain planning permission before you convert it into flats. This is because you will be fundamentally changing its use from a single dwelling to multiple separate dwellings.

If the house is a listed building then this will further restrict what you are able to do because they have special legal protection. Again you should check with the local authority what additional requirements they have before they will grant any necessary permission.

The building regulations will apply to your conversion and you will therefore also need to liaise with the local authority about how these regulations, which are designed to ensure safety and energy efficiency etc, may affect your plans.

I would also advise you to consider whether the utility companies need to be approached to arrange individual supplies to the new units. In addition, you will also need to check whether the legal title in the house contains any covenants that might restrict the use of the building.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.