Permitted development office to residential – act now or soon it will be too late!

Back in May 2013, the government changed legislation and adjusted permitted development rights. Offices could be changed to residential without the need to obtain any planning permission simply a prior approval notification.

This was a significant change and one that fuelled numerous conversions. However, this relaxation in planning legislation is only a temporary one. Starting in May 2013, it was only to be active for 3 years and planned to come to an end in May 2016.

The impact has been on a great scale. Owners and developers saw an opportunity to take advantage and change what were redundant office buildings largely vacant and on low rents, to reinvent them into residential blocks and feed the demand for housing.

For some it has been a success – some owners have been able to quickly adapt however, there are many owners and developers that are concerned that time isn’t on their side – half way through altering their office block; are they behind schedule and will they meet the deadline?

Whilst election fever dies down and new governments are formed, there is still uncertainty on whether these permitted development rights will be extended from the original May 2016 date. Owners of the building need to have completed their redevelopment and prove by this time that residential use is active – after this; it’s going to get complicated.

So what does this mean for you?

If you have an office that has been vacant or you’re considering converting to residential – you need to act quickly!  May 2016 could seem like a long way off for some it will come round quicker than you think.  Getting expert advice from the start is a must. If it’s something you’re interested in doing or are part way through – feel free to contact us here or speak to Peter Amstell on 020 8429 9007.

Newton’s third law of physics applies to the property market

“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction” 

Conversion of offices to residential has meant that the office market becoming more competitive. If you’re looking for new office space then this could be hard to find. Availability has reduced rental values increased – having a wide choice for your office move may be slimmer that you think?  Office owners that have quality space to rent in desirable locations may reap the benefits.  Tenants are now signing up to longer agreements and rents are rising.

There are always positive and negatives on all sides. Our advice is whatever you decide to do – don’t leave it too late or you could be kicking yourself!

Watch this space for any further updates on permitted developments office to residential and other industry news.