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Three bed, but advertised as a two bed.

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Hi guys, we’ve recently viewed a property that we might be interested in adding to our portfolio. It’s a recent flip that’s been renovated to an okay standard for the type of property and area. It’s advertised as a two bedroom, but with a loft conversion (converted when, I’m not sure at the moment, only had an initial viewing)

Oddly, the advertisement is describing the loft conversion as a study/family room, which I find bizarre, as if I were the vendor, and the conversion was building regs compliant, I’d be advertising it as a 3 bed all day long. The room is of an adequate size, and although the ceiling height at the edges is a little low, it’s nothing I’ve not seen before in other loft conversions.

When I quizzed the viewing agent about this, they said it could be a 3 bed, they just didn’t advertise it as such.

At first I began to wonder if the conversion didn’t comply with building regs, however the room is advertised as a habitable room, and maybe I’m mistaken but if it didn’t meet regs it couldn’t be advertised as any habitable room?

Add to this that the property recently returned to the market after a previous sale fell through, details of this I’m yet to find out about. Maybe a coincidence, maybe something more?

The agents will undoubtedly call me tomorrow to gauge my interest, and I’ll ask some more questions, but I’ve never come across this before. The house is a significantly better investment as a 3 bed, and I would potentially be interested as such, but the cynic I am smells a rat.

Anybody else come across this before, or willing to offer me their thoughts? Am I reading too much into it, or right to raise an eyebrow?

The link is below:


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6 hours ago, haf1963 said:

One reason for this could be room size (inc height) - especially as slope bits are included at a lower percentage than 100%. 

Perhaps, but are there regulations which differentiate between minimum sizes for a bedroom or any other habitable room?

I’ve been in similar sized terraced houses, with very similar roof pitches that have had loft conversions, they seem to be legitimate rooms.

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Possibly not compliant, its my understanding that if the conversion didnt get approval at the time its very difficult and expensive to get retrospective approval therefore you're stuck with a decent room, but one that can never be officially classed as a bedroom. You could try searching council website for building regs and/or planning approvals for that address? I've viewed properties like this in the past and sometimes it seems like the agent cant really be bothered to find out whether its compliant therefore err on the side of caution. If you do some research and find it did get approval then happy days but if its a recent flip you would think they would have already done that? Its a nice cheap way to get a 3 bed house for the price of a 2 bed if you're buying it to live in! I guess you could rent as a 3 bed or 2+attic but not sure if a valuer would be able to value as a 3 bed, probably not unless it has regs. 

As far as I know the head height in the room itself doesn't matter much (which is daft imo!) but the head height above the staircase is all important and of course insulation which these days has to be very thick, floor strength also important. 

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From looking at the photos, the reason is because the room doesn't have a door or access from proper stairs (it looks like it's probably a loft ladder). To be classed as a proper bedroom, it needs both of these things. The vendor could have had full planning permission for the loft conversion and it can be a perfectly habitable room, however without a door and proper access, it can't be classed as a bedroom. The same will be the case when you come to rent it out, you can only advertise and rent it as a 2-bed.

Chris (www.fintentional.co.uk)

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Thanks for your thoughts guys.

Thought I’d follow this up as to what has happened. After querying the agent, they confirmed what I had suspected, which is the conversion is not building regs compliant as ‘the conversion was done pre building regulations approval’. Also I’ve been told the previous sale fell through due to high damp readings in the kitchen.

I’m on the fence with this one now, part of me is still interested, even as a two bedroom, it’s still financially sound, and with a previous sale having fallen through and the aforementioned concerns, the possibility is there of securing the property at a discount, with the added lure that it could perhaps be made to be a legitimate three bedroom in the future.

I’m clearly out of the loop on building regs though, I really thought that any habitable room had to comply with universal regulations, I still find it odd how the room can be compliant as a family room, but not as a bedroom.

Still, food for thought and things to consider.

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We had a room like that in out old house (that we lived in ourselves for nearly forty years). It was an original room with the house, built in the 1850s.  There was a staircase up to it and a door at the bottom of the stairs.

The agent was perfectly happy to list it as a three bed when we sold it, because, as they said, unless it was only completed within the last year, it was never going to be compliant with the latest building regs and as long as it complied with those when it was built, that was OK.  Who knows what the building regs were in 1857?

Maybe the difference is that it was an original room and yours may be a more recent conversion that didn't comply with building regs at the time.

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