Can I divide or split a house into two? What happens if I buy one that has? 


In most cases you will require planning permission to divide or split a house into two flats or create an additional dwelling in the rear garden.

This is classed as development.  There isn’t any easy way around it. 

The same rules apply if you convert your garage into a separate dwelling or maybe an outbuilding. All will require planning permission.

However what happens if you purchase a house that has been divided into two flats without planning permission?  


Divide or split a house into two


If you have purchased a property that was split or divided into two flats, you will need to establish if the period of enforcement has lapsed. or better still get the previous owner to get the paperwork in order.

As long as the two flats were converted more than 4 years ago you can apply for a certificate of lawfulness. You will however need to prove the fact. 

This might involve ASTs from the two or more flats, or perhaps invoices from builders, an affidavit from residents, utility bills, councilt records etc. The more evidence you have the better. You really need to leave the local authority in no doubt that this was completed more than 4 years ago.

The most important factor here is that any development of an additional dwelling must be in plain sight. Do not hide it. You may recall Mr Fidler? If the name doesn’t ring a bell the case might – he hid his house behind bales of hay and then tried to get a certificate of lawfulness. It failed. The appeal and court proceedings also failed. You can read up on the story timeline here

Note that if the property was divided into two HMOs then this period of 4 years is extended to 10 years. 




Page Updated: 26th March 2022