Investment Landlord Tips

Divide And Conquer

David Rutland
Written by David Rutland

Letting a large house isn’t easy – flats can offer a far better return on your investment

History and architecture go together like peanut butter and jam. Or rhubarb and custard. Or Kevin Spacey and 14 year old boys.

Within a ten minute walk of the author’s home, you’ll find tower blocks, 1920s terraces, detached Barrett shoebox homes, 16th century cottages, and looming Georgian townhouses.

You can trace the history of a town’s growth, and speculate on the people who once lived in these places. Hard-working labourers in the terraces, yuppies in the Barratt homes, and bankers, lawyers, and merchants in the townhouses, along with their army of servants.

Yeah. Not much call for that type of residence in 21st century Britain. We’ve never actually met somebody who has even one servant living on the premises.

If you own one of these antique monstrosities, you’re probably going to have a difficult time letting it. Since easy access to birth control came along in the 1960s, six bedroom houses haven’t been in great demand.

And even if you do find someone to rent it to, the scant research we carried out showed that your rental income is going to be roughly the same disappointing figure nationwide. Whether you’re in Liverpool or London, the going rate is somewhere around the £2,500 mark.

So, how do you make the best of this minimally profitable millstone?

If you’re determined to put the absolute minimum effort in, then putting locks on the bedroom doors and calling it a House of Multiple Occupation, will take all of a single afternoon. With shared bathroom and kitchen, you can let all of the bedrooms out at £300 per month if you’re in the right part of the country. You’ve already increased your income by around 40%. Great.

Ideally, if you’re the kind of person who takes pride in their work and lives by the maxim that if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well, your mind will have turned to flats.

It can be a large investment, and takes a lot of planning, but the hard work will pay off.

Splitting the building constitutes a material change of use and you’ll need planning permission from your local authority. It’s time consuming and potentially expensive. After that, you’ll need to work out how to best use the space at your disposal.

Do you go for three large flats, or six single bedroom dwellings, with living room, bathroom and kitchen all crammed into a rapidly decreasing space? If your house is in a high rental part of the UK, then that’s probably what you’ll want to do.

After tearing out and re-erecting partition walls, you need to sort out entirely new plumbing, heating, gas, and electrical systems. And then fit kitchens for however many flats you’ve decided you want.  It’s exhausting, and the final bill can run upwards of £10,000.

And it’s not just the ancient monoliths of the inner cities which can be converted either. The ubiquitous three bedroom semi, found in leafy suburbs across the country may have a rental value of £650 per month outside the capital, but split it into two spacious self contained flats, and you’ll be pulling in £450 – £500 per month for each of them.


It’s simple. The maths works.


About the author

David Rutland

David Rutland

With a decades long career as a professional writer, David Rutland has worked as a journalist on local, national, and international newspapers, before embarking as a career as a freelancer.

He has ghostwritten several books, as well as producing travel guides, manuals, humour articles, and more internet blogs than you can shake a stick at.

David maintains offices in East London, but spends most of his time in a shed near Liverpool, where he writes, as well as developing apps for Android.

What people say about him:

Arrogant and abrasive - Alan Davis, Editor in Chief North Wales News Group

An absolute liability - Matt Simms, Editor, Vale advertiser

Are you sure this won't get us all arrested? - Mohana Prabhakar, Editor in Chief, Apex News Group

Go and have a shave. You're all prickly - Mrs Donna Rutland.

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