DH and I live in the top flat of a Victorian house in SW London. We own the ground floor flat as well, which we current let out. We are thinking of turning the whole thing back into one family house and living here for the next 7 - 10 years before relocating to leafy Surrey .
Does anyone have experience of turning flats back into a house? Any general advice or pointers...we are literally just starting to think about it so would welcome even the most basic advice.
The first thing you need to do is ring the council and check that they will give you planning as they are not as keen as this sort of conversion as the other way round as dividing a house makes 2 homes whereas joining 2 flats you lose one iyswim.
I had heard the opposite for our borough - they are encouraging of people wanting to turn the houses into single dwellings because the number of flat conversions was putting too great a strain on resources. It's anecdotal though, might not be true
We are doing it at the moment, a huge job involving lots of walls being removed and steels put in. Our builders are 6 weeks in and still saying it will take another ten. We have moved out. On that basis 6 months should be fine, but ask me again in November
We had no problem at all with planning (local council ok with two properties into one but not 3 or more, call or check website for your council's normal rules) - biggest headache was buying freehold off the company that owned it and really didn't want to sell, so we went through whole legal process of enfranchisement (which I could bore you about if it's relevant and you want to pm me), this tok over a year. Do you own the freehold? If not at the least you will need freeholder's permission to alter the structure/configuration and this will add to cost and hassle.