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  • HMO & Multi-Lets

    Cost to convert to HMO en-suites

    Does anyone give me some indicative costs to convert a house into 5 bed en-suites ? Ripping the house and install new plumbing, electric, security systems, fire doors, plastering etc. No extension or loft conversion I am just after indicative figure to work on.

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    You would need to get some estimates to be accurate. However, in Cambridge I have spent £40k to create HMOs with six en suite rooms and £55k if I have to convert an integral garage to do this. For five en suites I would subtract  £5k from this. You should investigate the VAT position with regards to works on HMOs.

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    All comments are for casual information purposes only. If you wish to rely on any advice I have given please ensure you obtain independent specialist advice from a third party. No liability is accepted for comments made.

    It's very difficult to give any estimates for the addition of en-suites since it is extremely dependent on their physical location in the property. The key issue is not getting water to the en-suites as most houses transport water in 15mm pipe which is easy to conceal under floor boards.

    The key consideration is removal of the waste, toilets are the most difficult requiring 100mm pipe almost impossible to place under floor boards in houses. Sinks, Showers & Baths are smaller between 40mm & 50mm for thermostatic power showers. Consequently the key to reducing cost is all about the design, you need to get your en-suites located with a side on an outside wall.

    The issue then is where are your drains located and do they have capacity. Digging up the outside of a house and relaying underground waste pipes is expensive.

    The other critical consideration with so many en-suites is your mains water pressure and how your going to supply hot water to baths and showers. If your going to install thermostatic showers your going to need a considerable water pressure never mind sufficient boiler capacity to heat it, if several tenants take showers/baths at the same time (could well be the case  in the morning). There is no point in buying a boiler with a capacity to heat a large amount of water if you don't have the pressure e.g if you have a boiler which will heat 10 liters a minute when you only have a water pressure of 8 liters a minute.

    Consequently before trying to set a budget I would focus on the design, if you get this right it will save you a considerable amount of cost and problems, if its wrong its a very expensive mistake to correct. Tenants with showers going cold or losing pressure will soon become an issue.

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    Do you find that the mains water pressure varies much in town locations? It's not something that a home buyers report tests and am not even sure if a full building survey tests for water pressure.


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    Yes it can vary depending on where the water is coming from eg Bristol Water state "Our standard of service for mains water pressure is ten metres head (or 1 bar) at the property boundary of your home or business. This normally means that in your home or business, water pressure should be strong enough to fill a 4.5 litre (one gallon) container in 30 seconds from a ground floor tap.""  Check with the supplier there pressure for your location, also remember your going to divide this pressure by 3 or more when tenants are taking showers filling baths at the same time, never mind washing dishes and clothes.

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    Thanks Ian I'm going to test the water pressure in the house I'm currently buying, I found it to be quite an issue when trying to work out how to allow for a situation where four or five people were having simultaneous showers or otherwise using the hot water at the same time because even the largest combi boiler has a limitation of I think two showers and isn't there a limitation on electric power shower use as well otherwise simultaneous use of too many high powered electrical devices could cause a trip so what's the best way to have four or five en-suite showers?

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    Is it true that having en-suite bathrooms is more likely to attract council tax on a per room basis, it's not something I've researched extensively but I'm avoiding putting in en-suites because I understand that by doing this it could potentially mitigate the risk and I believe this council tax per room charge has been introduced in Reading

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    You have to consider the level of business risk you are prepared to take.

    Let us say you improved an HMO to the standard you suggest.

    If the Council introduced Individual Council Tax Banding would your HMO still have the same value for onward sale purposes and would it remain financially viable?

    Many LL have decided to risk all and have heavily invested in producing a quality HMO product.

    They presumably have assessed the risk of ICTB.

    If they haven't then they have been very foolish as it surely must be part of the overall DD a LL carries out on HMO variant viability.

    HMO are under attack from Councils.

    They are seeking to extract as much income as they can from LL.

    They don't like HMO LL and will do everything they can to put them out of business.

    Article 4 and Selective Licensing is just part of the assault on HMO and other LL.

    ICTB is the latest wheeze that Councils are coming up with to extract income from HMO LL.

    Business rates might be the next wheeze!

    Personally I would not risk anything on HMO in the current climate.

    There are too many unknowns currently.

    Do you trust your Council not to introduce such measures which could destroy your HMO viability!?

    You would have wasted a lot of money and be left with an unviable product.

    It is a business decision you will have to make.

    No one can say what stupid Councils might do as regards HMO.

    But the fact that given a determined level of HMO improvement some Councils have decided to charge ICTB to me is a massive risk.

    We could even see sprinklers being required in such HMO.

    For me there is just too much business risk with HMO currently.

    But it is your money and your risk.

    Only you can decide what to do.

    Good luck with your relevant decision.

    I hope the ones you make are correct!

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    Hi Paul, I like your thought process and appreciate the points you mention. I do prefer to look at things from the point of view of the "worst case scenario" even if they're unlikely or I think they might be unlikely because it's always the most unlikely things that catch people out by surprise such as the massive interest spike in the 80's, when we were taken out of the ERM when interest rates reached a peak of 15% in 1989 although interest rates were at 17% a decade earlier in 1979 six months after Margret Thatcher came to power so all kinds of unexpected things can happen, or as Naseem Taleb in his book "The Black Swan" calls them: "Black Swan Events" which is essentially the impact that the highly improbable can have, and the 2008 banking crisis is another such example.

    So I prefer to try as best as possible to incorporate the worst case scenario into my planning

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    north wales 32k convert

    furniture 5k

    finance 12k

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    If that was a five bedroom hmo that's about £1k per room unless you've got a communal room with a sofa etc

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