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  • FIRST POST
    • PossiblyOverworked
    • By PossiblyOverworked 18th Jun 17, 8:37 PM
    • 59Posts
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    PossiblyOverworked
    House converted into flats - doesn't match planning permission
    • #1
    • 18th Jun 17, 8:37 PM
    House converted into flats - doesn't match planning permission 18th Jun 17 at 8:37 PM
    Hi,

    Planning permission was given with no objections for conversion of a house near me into flats.

    This has now been listed on right move with photos and floor plans etc and the conversion is clearly not according to the approved plans (walls in different places; without going into too much detail it seems designed to accommodate more people than the approved plans would be, but that's just speculation on my part.) (edited to make clear: the actual "implementation" of the conversion contains significantly more bedrooms (and by implication number of people) than the approved PP).

    I don't think it comes into the HMO legislation.

    Is there anything I can do with regard the agent, the planning people, or anything else?

    Maybe I am just being a nosey wotsit and sticking my beak in, but it annoys me that we have a planning process that most people stick to, and then developers just do what they were going to do anyway if it's more profitable!
    Last edited by PossiblyOverworked; 19-06-2017 at 6:51 PM.
Page 1
    • eddddy
    • By eddddy 18th Jun 17, 8:50 PM
    • 4,830 Posts
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    eddddy
    • #2
    • 18th Jun 17, 8:50 PM
    • #2
    • 18th Jun 17, 8:50 PM
    If you want to report a breach of planning, here's some info:
    https://www.planningportal.co.uk/info/200127/planning/103/having_your_say/5
    • anselld
    • By anselld 18th Jun 17, 9:59 PM
    • 5,220 Posts
    • 4,758 Thanks
    anselld
    • #3
    • 18th Jun 17, 9:59 PM
    • #3
    • 18th Jun 17, 9:59 PM
    Planning are not usually overly concerned about the detailed internal layout. There may be some concern, for example if the available floor space was consistent with a one bed and they have pushed in two beds.
    • lwhiteman88
    • By lwhiteman88 18th Jun 17, 11:08 PM
    • 66 Posts
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    lwhiteman88
    • #4
    • 18th Jun 17, 11:08 PM
    • #4
    • 18th Jun 17, 11:08 PM
    Anyone is free to move internal walls around without needing planning permission. The only concern for the planners in this situation would be if the rooms fell below their space standards for dwellings (some councils do not even have this).

    If you wanted to complain to the council you would need a substantiated reason to do so. If you really believe that there will be more people living there than what has been approved you could complain on this ground as it would have an impact on parking etc. However I would suggest you check first and also understand if it is a HMO as this does not necessarily need planning permission and therefore they could be doing something perfectly legal.
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 18th Jun 17, 11:42 PM
    • 5,439 Posts
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    davidmcn
    • #5
    • 18th Jun 17, 11:42 PM
    • #5
    • 18th Jun 17, 11:42 PM
    Maybe I am just being a nosey wotsit and sticking my beak in
    Originally posted by PossiblyOverworked
    Something like that, yes - are you sure they haven't applied for a variation to the original consent?

    If the discrepancies are material, the chances are that at least one of the purchasers (or their solicitors or surveyors) will pick up on it anyway.
    • Ozzuk
    • By Ozzuk 19th Jun 17, 1:09 PM
    • 1,054 Posts
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    Ozzuk
    • #6
    • 19th Jun 17, 1:09 PM
    • #6
    • 19th Jun 17, 1:09 PM
    Is there any impact whatsoever to you? If not, then just forget about it, life is too short to worry about what others are doing.

    I'm all for doing ones civic duty I think doing this is a step too far.
    • ReadingTim
    • By ReadingTim 19th Jun 17, 1:26 PM
    • 1,711 Posts
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    ReadingTim
    • #7
    • 19th Jun 17, 1:26 PM
    • #7
    • 19th Jun 17, 1:26 PM
    Is there any impact whatsoever to you? If not, then just forget about it, life is too short to worry about what others are doing.

    I'm all for doing ones civic duty I think doing this is a step too far.
    Originally posted by Ozzuk
    "First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me"

    If that's a bit subtle, then consider what would happen if this infraction wasn't a one off, but the thin end of the wedge in terms of turning the area into a HMO ghetto. Wouldn't it impact you then?
    • PossiblyOverworked
    • By PossiblyOverworked 19th Jun 17, 6:40 PM
    • 59 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    PossiblyOverworked
    • #8
    • 19th Jun 17, 6:40 PM
    • #8
    • 19th Jun 17, 6:40 PM
    Anyone is free to move internal walls around without needing planning permission. The only concern for the planners in this situation would be if the rooms fell below their space standards for dwellings (some councils do not even have this).

    If you wanted to complain to the council you would need a substantiated reason to do so. If you really believe that there will be more people living there than what has been approved you could complain on this ground as it would have an impact on parking etc. However I would suggest you check first and also understand if it is a HMO as this does not necessarily need planning permission and therefore they could be doing something perfectly legal.
    Originally posted by lwhiteman88
    I don't want to make it too identifiable but let's just say there are now significantly more bedrooms than the PP agreed to (including one smaller than the minimum inhabitable size) with the increase in number of people (and parking etc) that comes with it.

    I do understand that moving internal walls around in itself isn't a "violation" and wouldn't get on anyone's case just for that -- if not for the fact that moving them around into an arrangement that gives more bedrooms than what was agreed to. Sorry I wasn't clear about that!
    • PossiblyOverworked
    • By PossiblyOverworked 19th Jun 17, 6:42 PM
    • 59 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    PossiblyOverworked
    • #9
    • 19th Jun 17, 6:42 PM
    • #9
    • 19th Jun 17, 6:42 PM
    Is there any impact whatsoever to you? If not, then just forget about it, life is too short to worry about what others are doing.

    I'm all for doing ones civic duty I think doing this is a step too far.
    Originally posted by Ozzuk
    The impact to me / other neighbours is things like parking and noise with an increased number of people, and the "thin end of the wedge" argument made by a subsequent poster. ie.. if we can overlook PP because it's more profitable / convenient / whatever, what would it be like if everyone did that?
    • PossiblyOverworked
    • By PossiblyOverworked 19th Jun 17, 6:47 PM
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    PossiblyOverworked
    I am not sure if it's a HMO if it started off as a single house but has been "partitioned off" into flats over several floors? as part of the rules seems to be about "multiple households" where a household is a single person or members of a family - But for example if I rented that flat with my BFF and we each had our own room - would we be 2 "households" since we are not a couple?
    • PossiblyOverworked
    • By PossiblyOverworked 19th Jun 17, 6:53 PM
    • 59 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    PossiblyOverworked
    Planning are not usually overly concerned about the detailed internal layout. There may be some concern, for example if the available floor space was consistent with a one bed and they have pushed in two beds.
    Originally posted by anselld
    When it was a complete house, the floor space was consistent with the number of bedrooms taking into account that there was 1 living room, 1 bathroom, 1 kitchen (as you would expect for a single-family house). Now it's been converted, there are 2 bathrooms, 2 kitchens, 2 living space etc and so part of the space has been "cannibalised" for want of a better word, for each.
    • PossiblyOverworked
    • By PossiblyOverworked 19th Jun 17, 6:56 PM
    • 59 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    PossiblyOverworked
    Something like that, yes - are you sure they haven't applied for a variation to the original consent?

    If the discrepancies are material, the chances are that at least one of the purchasers (or their solicitors or surveyors) will pick up on it anyway.
    Originally posted by davidmcn
    Yes, I've been through all the PPs thinking that there was some variation etc but the version I am looking at is definitely the most recent. (There have been a few variations along the way so I know I'm looking at the right thing)

    I think it may have come up as it has bounced between Sold STC, For Sale, Sale Agreed, cash buyer only etc.
    Last edited by PossiblyOverworked; 19-06-2017 at 6:59 PM.
    • lwhiteman88
    • By lwhiteman88 20th Jun 17, 6:35 AM
    • 66 Posts
    • 41 Thanks
    lwhiteman88
    I am not sure if it's a HMO if it started off as a single house but has been "partitioned off" into flats over several floors? as part of the rules seems to be about "multiple households" where a household is a single person or members of a family - But for example if I rented that flat with my BFF and we each had our own room - would we be 2 "households" since we are not a couple?
    Originally posted by PossiblyOverworked
    I think you should look more into what a HMO is. I wouldn't look at in the way you have suggested. HMO can essentially be up to 6 double bedrooms each with their own lock and a shared living/kitchen/bathroom. Although you can have the kitchen/bathroom within the rooms in some instances. This could fall under permitted development and therefore not require planning permission.

    It would of course appear strange that the house has gone through numerous planning permissions, as you have suggested, and then not then implement the approved proposal but go down the HMO route. If it is a HMO they would require a HMO licence so you could probably just call your local council to see if that property has a HMO licence.

    If they do not then I would complain to the planning department. I suspect that the property owner assumed that because they have permission to split into flats no one would be suspicious with the additional number of people coming and going and then after 4 years they would have immunity from planning permission.
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 20th Jun 17, 6:48 AM
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    PasturesNew
    All the PP would care about is:
    - are there still the same number of flats
    - are the windows/doors etc still in the same place.

    As a rule of thumb, what happens inside is of no concern to anybody except building regs/fire safety.
    • lwhiteman88
    • By lwhiteman88 20th Jun 17, 6:53 AM
    • 66 Posts
    • 41 Thanks
    lwhiteman88
    All the PP would care about is:
    - are there still the same number of flats
    - are the windows/doors etc still in the same place.

    As a rule of thumb, what happens inside is of no concern to anybody except building regs/fire safety.
    Originally posted by PasturesNew
    If it is now a 2 bedroom flat and the approval shows 1 bedroom flat then yes this would be a breach of the planning permission and the planners could serve an enforcement notice. Planners do care about whats inside if it is a material change which this would be.
    • lush walrus
    • By lush walrus 20th Jun 17, 6:54 AM
    • 1,891 Posts
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    lush walrus
    All the PP would care about is:
    - are there still the same number of flats
    - are the windows/doors etc still in the same place.

    As a rule of thumb, what happens inside is of no concern to anybody except building regs/fire safety.
    Originally posted by PasturesNew
    Not true, planning permission will also state the number of bedrooms and the number of occupants it is designed to accommodate. If the number of bedrooms is greater than that states speak to the duty planning officer, they will tell you whether it is something enforcement will investigate or will put you in touch. These occupancies are there to prevent the UK becoming slum accommodation.

    Have you called the planning department yet?
    • BBH123
    • By BBH123 20th Jun 17, 10:34 AM
    • 343 Posts
    • 446 Thanks
    BBH123
    Have you really nothing better to do with your time ?

    Unless you are buying one of these flats does it really matter.

    Near me a local man is objecting to a sikh family wanting to convert a garage into residential for the elderly mother. He is not an immediate neighbour, it doesnt affect him in anyway so why take issue with it.

    People have a real bee in their bonnet about planning and it must be jealousy or nosiness because unless something directly affects you mind your own business.

    Society is changing and planning laws need to reflect the changing needs of the population, with social care of the elderly in crisis I'm sure more and more people will want to convert their property in some way to care for relatives.
    • teddysmum
    • By teddysmum 20th Jun 17, 11:52 AM
    • 7,885 Posts
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    teddysmum
    Have you really nothing better to do with your time ?

    Unless you are buying one of these flats does it really matter.

    Near me a local man is objecting to a sikh family wanting to convert a garage into residential for the elderly mother. He is not an immediate neighbour, it doesnt affect him in anyway so why take issue with it.

    People have a real bee in their bonnet about planning and it must be jealousy or nosiness because unless something directly affects you mind your own business.

    Society is changing and planning laws need to reflect the changing needs of the population, with social care of the elderly in crisis I'm sure more and more people will want to convert their property in some way to care for relatives.
    Originally posted by BBH123



    The situations you name, ie looking after a relative , are not the same as where a property is being deliberately altered to accommodate more people in order to make as much money as possible. (The landlord won't have to live with the consequences off a large number of people living in an overcrowded building .)
    Last edited by teddysmum; 20-06-2017 at 12:04 PM.
    • ComicGeek
    • By ComicGeek 20th Jun 17, 12:15 PM
    • 154 Posts
    • 108 Thanks
    ComicGeek
    We have some clients who do just this, and squeeze additional bedrooms in after planning consent. The constructed scheme is all compliant with Building Regs, but they deliberately flout the planning consent.

    They rent them out all out, otherwise it would be easily picked by a buyer's solicitor after only a quick review of the planning consent and lease plans. Very dangerous to do it for resale properties because of this IMO - you could easily end up with unsellable units.

    The developer will either have to ask for revised planning consent (which they may not get), amend the layouts back to the agreed layouts, or sell at a reduced rate to cash buyers who take on the risk.

    If you really feel angry about it (and I would do if I was living in the same road and sharing parking spaces), then no reason why you can't report it to the planning department for them to investigate. And keep an eye open for any updated planning submission..
    • silvercar
    • By silvercar 20th Jun 17, 12:23 PM
    • 35,524 Posts
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    silvercar
    There have been office blocks in Luton, recently refurbished and converted to residential flats.

    For whatever reason they are sold as 1 beds, but the layout is that of 3 beds except that the extra bedrooms have doorways without doors and some of the bedrooms don't have windows!
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