Call Us
Arrange A Call Back

Enter message

Quick question?
Text LAW to
How Can We

Enter message


Office to residential use: a breath of fresh air for property investors

by Published on

Since May 2013, there has been a temporary right for the owners of commercial office premises to legally convert them and change their use from office space to residential use. This temporary right was, however, due to expire on 30 May 2016, meaning any such change of use after that date would not have been permitted without the grant of an express planning permission from the relevant local planning authority for each proposed change.

As a result of the Government’s commitment to having 1 million new homes by 2020, this right to change the use without express planning permission has been made permanent. Owners of commercial office space are, then, no longer stifled by the time limitation. Accordingly, it presents an extended opportunity for those with disused office space to seek to secure the maximum potential from it.

In addition to the above, the Government also proposes, in time, to permit the demolition of office buildings and the re-building of residential accommodation. This additional right will though be subject to prior approval being obtained from the local planning authority and other limitations. More detail is awaited on these. The Government also plans to extend the deemed planning permission for change of use to encompass changing the use of light industrial buildings to residential use, providing further opportunities for a broader spectrum of commercial property owner.

It should be noted, however, that, although express planning permission will not be needed, it is still likely to be the case that prior approval of the local planning authority will be needed in respect of flooding, contamination, highways and transport issues. Also, a change from office to residential use may impact on the tax payable in respect of the property.

Additionally, the exceptions to the class J permitted development right will remain, although these are minimal. The most relevant of these for most properties is that the deemed planning permission will not apply if the office is contained inside a listed building or within the curtilage of a listed building.

Notwithstanding these limitations, this announcement by the Government presents a renewed and significant opportunity for current or potential property investors. It may allow them to broaden or diversify their portfolios, without the need for lengthy and costly planning applications.

If further information is required in relation to planning or other commercial property matters, please contact Chris Morgan, a solicitor in our Commercial Property team on 0191 255 0206 or at

Latest News

Deck the Halls..but not the Staff – A Business Owners Guide to a Successful Xmas Party

December 1, 2017

In the words of the Brummie genius that is Noddy Holder; “So here it is merry Christmas, everybody’s having fun….” Well of course they are, as the business owner you’re laying on the annual festive lunch or dinner for your staff. Plenty of merriment being poured and sausage rolls scoffed. For many of us though […]

Latest Blog

Dealing with Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

November 9, 2017

The recent New York Times expose featuring a Hollywood movie mogul has led to a global conversation on the topic of sexual harassment, specifically experiences encountered in the place of work.  The spark igniting this discussion happened on October 5th when the New York Times journalist Jodi Kantor and investigative reporter Megan Twohey revealed sexual harassment […]

Employment Law App

Employment Law App

Available on the App Store

Samuel Phillips News!


Samuel Phillips Gazette

Samuel Phillips Gazette

Read Samuel Phillips Online Gazette   Read Online Gazette