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  • Refurbish/Develop

    Trying to get 6 ensuites in a house

    I have recently bought my first rental property and would like to turn it into a HMO. It currently has 5 large bathrooms and a large bathroom. I would like to put ensuites in every room and turn the bathroom into another ensuite bedroom. The water and gas pressure going into the house is pretty standard. I’ve  had a couple of plumbers out to look at it and they all say 6 ensuites isn’t possible because of water flow. Surely there is a way to make it possible???

    the house is extended into the loft so a water tank up there isn’t possible.

    Any help would be greatfully recieved.

    Thanks

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    Im not a plumber but I understand you can have a water tank and run the showers with pumps.

    Just a side to this. Beware putting too many facilities in rooms because you could end up being council rated as 6 properties as opposed to 1 house with 6 bedrooms. 

    Derek

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    Thanks Derek,

    my problem is I have no space in the loft for a water tank. Maybe I could knock out the chimney and put it there.

    On the other point, once I know what’s possible I will get plans drawn up and take them to the council to see what they say.

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    Hi Clint

    What are the plumbers basing their view on, have they tested the water pressure and flow in your house?  I have installed 6 ensuites in my 6 bed HMO with no problems but I had to replace the incoming mains pipe to ensure the water flow was sufficient for several people to use their showers at the same time.  I have also installed an unvented mains pressure water tank under the stairs which works well.

    Miles

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    Hi Clint,

    A few random questions your opening post has thrown up.

    As this is your first rental property and an HMO, do you mind me asking how you financed it?  Was it a cash purchase?

    Secondly, are you aware of the new minimum room sizes for HMOs?  (Please forgive me if you are).

    Have you considered that a 6 bed with 6 ensuites will not appeal to owner occupiers, should you ever wish to sell it?

    ​Have you checked with the local council if individual council tax banding would apply to each room?

    I am not a plumber, but I do believe there are specialist solutions, similar to what would be found in hotels, because they have multiple ensuite rooms.

    Perhaps contact a commercial plumbing company for advice?

    This thread may give some insights:

    Boiler requirements for 5 bed HMO?

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    Hi Vanessa, thank you for your reply.

    When I say it’s my first rental property, that might not be strictly true, I currently have a 4 bed that I rent out to 3 other people, while living there myself on a residential mortgage.

    The new property is on a mortgage. I am aware of the minimum room sizes and all the rooms would be ample size. It’s a very big old house.

    I’m not contemplating ever needing to sell it as I’m buying for income when I retire (not for another 30 years).

    Ive not checked with the council yet, I’m trying to find out what is possible the get an architect to draw up the plans, and take them to the council before any work starts on the property. 

    I will contact some commercial plumbing company’s.

    thank you for your response.

    Clint

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    Thanks Clint.

    I just wanted to check that it was on an HMO mortgage and not a BTL mortgage?  This is for your own financial well-being that I ask.

    You could not undertake this conversion if it is on a BTL mortgage.  

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    I don't see that this would be a problem provided you have the right equipment.  The important thing is to size it up correctly.  Your aim is to be able to run all 6 showers at the same time for (say) 20 mins.  So you need to find out the FLOW RATE of every shower head.  This will be provided with the sales blurb when you buy it - quoted in litres per minute.  If you're not buying new shower heads, but using existing, you can measure this with a measuring jug and stop-watch.  Once you have this information you add all the flow rates together for all 6 shower heads (and add some for running the odd tap) to give you the total flow rate required.  Then you need to get a hot water system that is capable of providing that flow rate (should be quoted with their technical information).  An unvented cylinder (eg. Megaflo but other brands are available) with a suitable system boiler would be suitable.  The cylinders come in various sizes (litres) so you would work out how much water you need to store by multiplying the total flow rate (in litres per minute) by no. of minutes required for a shower (say 20 minutes) to work out whether your cylinder could supply the amount of water required.  If you can't find one big enough (ie. not enough litres) you can run more than one side by side in parallel (which is what I have done).  The two cylinders supply the same bathrooms but if one breaks down you can still run the other one so you have a bit of redundancy.  An Unvented Cylinder works off the mains pressure water and therefore eliminates the need for a header tank in the loft.  Therefore you can put it downstairs in a cupboard out of the way, although you need decent access for maintenance  You need to pair it up with a suitable boiler eg. a System boiler suitably sized to provide enough hot water for both your bathrooms and heating system eg. radiators.  Sizing up radiators is another topic.  The other information you would need to know before starting is what your mains pressure is.  If you have a gauge fitted then you can easily see (usually measured in bar - 3-5 bar is around normal) otherwise your plumber should be able to measure this by using a gadget on one of your taps.  I would speak to a plumber who is experienced in installing these type of systems to have a look at your site and advise.

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