In today’s busy world where the cost of living is rising, many of us are seeking alternative sources of income and one potential option is to rent out your garden office. Consider this – you have a beautiful garden office that you do use, but what if you converted it into accommodation and advertised it as a rental room?
This certainly sounds fantastic, but is it that simple and can it even be legally done? If you are wondering can I rent out my garden office, I have the answer below.
Understanding the Planning Permission for Garden Offices
The essential step is to understand that a garden office building doesn’t require planning permission if it complies with certain regulations. These regulations include:
- It cannot be at the front of your home.
- The total area of all outbuildings (including your garden room) cannot exceed 50% of your total land area.
- It has no balcony, veranda, or raised platform.
- It’s not a self-contained living accommodation.
- The eaves are less than 2.5m above ground level.
The fourth point is the crux of the conundrum. To not need planning permission, your garden office cannot be a self-contained living accommodation.
What This Means for Renting Out Your Garden Office
As we can see from the above, while a garden office is used for personal use such as a home office or gym, and it complies with the regulations, it’s classed as a permitted development. However, that is just one of the factors that makes it complicated to use as a rental property.
1. Planning Permission is Required
Due to the “not a self-contained living accommodation” clause, if you want to rent your garden office, you MUST apply for planning permission. This would be with your local council and if planning permission isn’t granted then you can’t use it for rental income.
2. It Must Comply With Regulations and be Fit for Purpose
If you are successful with planning permission, your garden room still needs to be fit for purpose and comply with building regulations to pass as a rentable property. Things it may need include:
- A bathroom with plumbing and a freshwater supply.
- Adequate sleeping space.
- A carbon monoxide detector and a smoke detector.
- A fire extinguisher.
- Properly insulated to be habitable during any season.
- A kitchen with plumbing and wiring.
Obviously, most garden offices do not come with these features as standard so this is an extra cost to account for. You must factor in this expense when formulating your business plan, but also to make sure your garden rental room complies with regulations.
3. Additional Tax and Expenses May Have to be Paid
You can make up to £7500 profit from a rental accommodation tax-free per year. However, if your garden office rental exceeds this, the profits must be declared with HMRC and you must pay additional tax.
There are also other additional costs such as insurance, marketing, maintenance, and cleaning. You may choose to do all of this yourself which will save money, but the effort and time is still required which has to be factored into your evaluation.
Is it Worth Renting Out Your Garden Office?
So, can I rent out my garden office? Yes, it is possible, but additional steps are needed, and it’s not a simple case of putting a bed in your garden room and calling the job done!
To see if this is a feasible business venture you must consider the factors, cost, and work involved, and ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the area you live in a desirable tourist destination?
- Will the rental income offset the cost and effort?
- Do you still want to use your garden office too?
- Do you have the time and dedication to manage the let?
The most important one is your property location and it’s desirability for tourist letting. You must take a look at your local surroundings and consider if people would even want to stop here – unfortunately, not every village, town, or city in the UK is one that attracts tourists.
If you do live in a viable letting area, you then have to consider the additional cost, work, and effort involved. This is not something you can do half-heartedly – you have to be willing to put the time in to make it work, to advertise your letting, and to keep it maintained for the guests.
Lastly, you should consider if you still want to use the garden office at all still, and the implications turning it into a rental room will have. For example, if you convert it into accommodation with a toilet and amenities, can you still realistically use it?
With these questions answered, you should then have a realistic idea of whether renting out your garden office is practical or not.