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What to Do When Converting Commercial Property to Residential

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Many commercial property owners and commercial landlords are currently looking at converting their properties into residential homes as the high street takes a hit and leases do not get renewed.

Often a commercial property’s central location, with good transportation links and close proximity to other services and facilities also makes it attractive to the housing market, but getting the right commercial property legal advice can often help landlords avoid costly mistakes.

Commercial Property Investments

Currently stamp duty relief and additional lower cost commercial property make it a good buy for any investor looking to take a chance on high street or town centre redevelopment.  It has happened before when many local pubs changed use and became either flats or local small express supermarkets.

“Pre Covid-19 many of our local shopping areas had diversified into service and hospitality industries; nail bars, salons and coffee shops fill our town and village centres but more and more our commercial property landlords and owners are asking us about the options to convert shops and small commercial units into apartments and HMOs,” said Commercial Property expert, Paul McGladdery.

Converting Commercial Property

“Full planning permission is not always needed as such a change of use in many cases are allowed under General Permitted Development. There are plenty of old offices and shuttered shops up for sale at the moment, as well as landlords with vacant or soon to be vacant properties” added Paul McGladdery.

General Permitted Development rights allow some types of commercial properties to be converted without consent. Always check with the local authority if permission is needed as you may be in breach and this could cause future legal problems.

What to consider when converting a commercial property to residential property?

The location and size of the property, as always, are key. Many shops and other commercial premises are close to or already within residential areas and some were formerly houses. Converting these types of properties is often more straightforward, though more developments are happening in town centres and in or close to shopping arcades where residents can have shops and restaurants on their door steps.

Conversions in town will usually be to apartments or HMOs. These can require planning permission and have certain conditions attached so it is important to get early advice.

“The change of use of a property is only possible once a tenant has vacated. It may be possible to evict the tenant prior to the end of their lease if they have failed to comply with their obligations under the lease.,” said Paul.

Legal advice should be sought however before taking any steps to remove a tenant from a property.

For advice on all commercial property matters contact our Commercial Property team on 0161 785 3500 or email

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

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