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A B&B - How Do I Convert My House?

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 8 Jul 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
A B&b - How Do I Convert My House?

Q.

How do you go about turning a residential house into a B&B?

(Mrs joanna clark, 9 December 2008)

A.

You've certainly come to the right place – here at Start A Bed & Breakfast we cover all aspects of owning and running a B&B. There's a lot to consider but there are four main areas to attack when turning your house into a B&B:

  • Getting permission
  • Building work
  • Fitting out guest rooms
  • Advertising and marketing

Permissions

Whether or not you will need planning permission will depend on the amount of building work to be done, and in this respect it's no different to a house extension. But there can be a difference if the guest accommodation becomes more than just the use of a few bedrooms. Planners will advise on this before you undertake any significant building work.

You are very likely to need permissions from local councils to run the business at your house, particularly if the area already has a lot of bed and breakfast establishments. Ask at the local council about 'change of use' applications.

Building Work

Regulations for bed and breakfasts change quite regularly, particularly with regard to health and safety regulations, so it's vital to refer to an up-to-date source of information. Depending on the size of your house and the number of guests you can take, different regulations will apply. But you are likely to have to install things like fire doors, emergency lighting and fire safety signage, and the kitchen will probably need some work too.

It's important to make sure that there are completely separate washing and toilet facilities for you and your family which can't be used by guests. That might well mean moving some internal walls and doors around.

Fitting Out Rooms

For both bedrooms and guest areas, like dining rooms and lounges, make the areas clean, bright and fresh. Think of a theme and carry it through the rooms but nothing too garish.

Get new furniture in or good quality antiques, depending on the style you have chosen. Don't skimp on cheap furniture as guests won’t come back and you'll have to replace it very quickly with the hard use it will get.

Advertising and Marketing

The hardest part of advertising and marketing is to come up with your image and style. It's worth spending some money on a graphic designer to come up with a logo and brochure material to give a professional look to your website and promotional materials.

Keep tabs on your advertising spend and ask customers where they heard of you so that you can repeat the ads that deliver the goods and dump the ones that are a waste of money.

Come Back For Help

Once you're up and running there are many other areas that you need to pay attention to such as managing accounts, maintaining a good reputation and many more. But here at Start A Bed & Breakfast you'll find easy to follow tips and advice to help you on your way.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
I am thinking about doing a B&B and reading this site as been very helpful
maggot - 8-Jul-17 @ 2:23 PM
Ray - Your Question:
We purchased a beautiful bespoke 4 bedroom home in a historic village just outside York City a few years back, due to work commitments we relocated overseas and was fortunate enough to rent our home, we now plan to return back to the U.K. and considering converting the double garage and a spare living room into additional bedrooms. Question I have is, is there a minimum quantity of rooms to qualify as a B&B?

Our Response:
Check with your local planning department on this. If you're only letting out one room it might be worth considering air bnb etc.
StartABedAndBreakfast - 18-May-17 @ 2:27 PM
We purchased a beautiful bespoke 4 bedroom home in a historic village just outside York City a few years back, due to work commitments we relocated overseas and was fortunate enough to rent our home,we now plan to return back to the U.K. and considering converting the double garage and a spare living room into additional bedrooms. Question I have is, is there a minimum quantity of rooms to qualify as a B&B?
Ray - 17-May-17 @ 5:06 PM
kelloe1 - Your Question:
I currently have a 6 bedroom house which I initially set up as a HMO 6 rooms the council has decided that because I only cater for contractors -(not migrant workers) that it is not a HMO what would I need to convert to b and b and would I need to be resident to complyregards

Our Response:
You'd need to seek professional advice as to whether this is the best route to take. There are lots more regulations for B and Bs and you'd need to provide breakfast/clean linen etc, get planning permission etc
StartABedAndBreakfast - 12-Apr-17 @ 11:51 AM
I currently have a 6 bedroom house which i initially set up as a HMO 6 rooms the council has decided that because i only cater for contractors -(not migrant workers) that it is not a HMO what would i need to convert to b and b and would i need to be resident to comply regards
kelloe1 - 10-Apr-17 @ 1:53 PM
Jman - Your Question:
Hi,Just buying bedding and towels for my B&B before I start it up. What size towels is expected please?I have bought bath towels, hand towels and face cloths. Do I need to provide bath sheets too, please?CHeers,Jman

Our Response:
No either bath towels or sheets is fine (but most people prefer sheets as they're larger).
StartABedAndBreakfast - 2-Mar-17 @ 12:47 PM
Hi, Just buying bedding and towels for my B&B before I start it up.What size towels is expected please? I have bought bath towels, hand towels and face cloths.Do I need to provide bath sheets too, please? CHeers, Jman
Jman - 28-Feb-17 @ 9:45 PM
i would like to register my homestay to B&B?
vo - 18-Feb-17 @ 3:38 AM
Hi I want to start B&B I got four bed room &3 reception room. Do I need planing from council ? Is it easy ?
Zed - 28-Jan-17 @ 11:43 PM
Its good to find a site like this as there are so many areas to address when setting up a business.
Candy - 14-Jan-17 @ 10:39 AM
Merix - Your Question:
Is it against regulations to have a small fridge and microwave in the room?

Our Response:
Not as far as we're aware, but you should check with your local building regulations officer.
StartABedAndBreakfast - 13-Dec-16 @ 2:01 PM
Is it against regulations to have a small fridge and microwave in the room?
Merix - 12-Dec-16 @ 4:53 PM
This question may not be relevant to this site, but can you tell me how long can a B & B guest stay before he/she becomes a permanent resident/tenant and would I need different permission from the local council.This may affect those who are asking about letting more than two bedrooms.
MrsB - 8-Oct-16 @ 10:13 AM
Sara - Your Question:
There are plenty of 5 bedrooms home to be rented out in Edinburgh, I am wondering if there is any rule for b&b or guest house?! Do I need to own the place or can I rent it?

Our Response:
As well as planning considerations, you'd have to agree this with a landlord - who would undoubtedly want a share in your profits etc.
StartABedAndBreakfast - 27-Sep-16 @ 11:05 AM
There are plenty of 5 bedrooms home to be rented out in Edinburgh, I am wondering if there is any rule for b&b or guest house?! Do I need to own the place or can I rent it?
Sara - 25-Sep-16 @ 2:35 PM
I have a 4 bedroom house which I would like to convert it to a Bed and Breakfast. Do I need permission?
Mongs - 21-Sep-16 @ 6:30 PM
I have recently bought a 5 bedroom B&B which requires complete renovation.Is there a legal requirement for me to use fie retardant materials for curtains and furnishings?
Alison - 2-Sep-16 @ 12:56 PM
phunt110 - Your Question:
I have a spare bedroom that I would like to set up as a B&B. What things do I need to do to run a B&B?

Our Response:
We hope this website gives you plenty of relevant informaiton. Please give the articles a read and let us know what you think.
StartABedAndBreakfast - 16-Jun-16 @ 2:24 PM
I have a spare bedroom that I would like to set up as a B&B. What things do I need to do to run a B&B?
phunt110 - 15-Jun-16 @ 2:14 PM
we own a home which has an annex on the side accsess via a internal door it has one bedroom a lounge and wetroom with its own kitchen do we need planning for this to turn into a bnb
perry - 9-Apr-16 @ 4:38 PM
None - Your Question:
My daughter is thinking about making one of her four bedrooms a B&B room ,does she need extra insurance to her home and permission to do this. She works from home also.

Our Response:
Your daughter must contact her insurance company to inform them if uses part of her home for B&B. It may not add anything to the premium but the insurer will want to know about it. One room probably wouldn't need planning permission but you should check with your planning officer first as there may be location specific factors (such as parking) that need to be considered.
StartABedAndBreakfast - 16-Mar-16 @ 9:58 AM
My daughter is thinking about making one of her four bedrooms a B&B room ,does she need extra insurance to her home and permission to do this. She works from home also.
None - 15-Mar-16 @ 2:41 AM
vee - Your Question:
I have holiday cottages but would like to offer breakfast only in my home, do I need planning permission? can I just go ahead and do it? thanks

Our Response:
You will need to register as a food business with your local authority, you may also have to change your insurance and obtain a risk assessment etc. Planning permission may not be needed but you should consult your planning officer for clarification on this issue.
StartABedAndBreakfast - 26-Feb-16 @ 12:36 PM
I have holiday cottages but would like to offer breakfast only in my home, do I need planning permission?can I just go ahead and do it?thanks
vee - 25-Feb-16 @ 8:56 AM
Do I need any particular requirements to have two rooms set aside for paying guests in Gwynedd please?
Doodle - 3-Feb-16 @ 6:49 AM
SMOSS - Your Question:
Hello,I am wanting to purchase a running b&b for my main family home. I do not want to rent it out, do I need to apply for change of use?Thanks!Sophia

Our Response:
Yes you may have to apply for planning permission to change it from commercial to residential. Note also that a mortgage company may only offer a buy to let mortgage unless you can prove that is only to be for residential use as a family home.
StartABedAndBreakfast - 2-Feb-16 @ 12:40 PM
Hello, I am wanting to purchase a running b&b for my main family home. I do not want to rent it out, do i need to apply for change of use? Thanks! Sophia
SMOSS - 31-Jan-16 @ 8:58 PM
Hi I am interested in buying a B&B and converting its use back to a residential property.Do I need permission for this?What else should I be wary of?
John - 11-Jan-16 @ 1:06 PM
I have run a B&B before and then sold it but didn't require any permissions then about 15yrs ago. I now own a five bed home on the Norfolk Coast and want to sell two bedrooms - which are away from our own accommodation. I am worried about 'change of use' as it is a small proportion/percentage of the total home area. Does anyone know if that is still a valid point to not change the rates on the property?
Ant - 11-Dec-15 @ 9:46 PM
I have a 4 bedroom Victorian property with a further 2 rooms in the basement which I want to turn into a B and B. 1 bedroom has an en suite, and separate bathroom and toilet upstairs. There is also a toilet and kitchen in the basement too. Do I need to change my mortgage to commercial. It is buy to let mortgage at the moment. It is rented out to tenets at the moment. Do I need any change of use permission. Thank you
Shane - 29-Nov-15 @ 10:12 PM
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