The government will introduce a permanent permitted development right for change of use from class B1(a) (offices) to class C3 (dwellinghouses) from May 2016. This will replace the existing temporary right, which applies from 30 May 2013 to 30 May 2016.
The new office to residential permitted development right has been announced ahead of the publication of the Housing and Planning Bill, as a means of supporting the government's drive to deliver one million homes by 2020. While the right may only contribute a fraction of that target, it will provide welcome certainty for those developers looking to convert offices into homes.
The government has issued a press release announcing the intention that, from 1 February 2016, all private landlords in England will have to check that new tenants have the right to be in the UK before renting out their property (right to rent. Landlords must also make sure that someone’s right to occupy the premises does not lapse. Breaching the prohibition could lead to a civil penalty of up to £3,000.
From 1 April 2016, higher rates of stamp duty land tax will be payable on purchases of additional residential properties (over £40,000). This will include buy to let properties and second homes. The higher rates will not apply to caravans, mobile homes or houseboats.