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Permission for B &B With Fewer Than 3 Rooms?

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 22 Jul 2017 | comments*Discuss
Planning Permission Change Of Use


Is it correct that if you choose to do Bed & Breakfast from your home, with 3 or fewer letting rooms, that you do not need planning or change of use?

(M Atkinson, 30 January 2009)


There is no evidence that there is any limit on the number of bedrooms a B&B has to have before you have to apply for planning permission of building regulations approval.

Planning and Regulation Confusion

To be honest, the different permissions that apply don't often relate to each other, so it would be very unusual for a three room limit to apply to both planning and building regulations.

'Change of use' is a confusing term to use because it can apply to either planning permission or building regulations. It's also difficult to give hard and fast rules about these areas because the regulations differ in different parts of the United Kingdom. Apart from the different bodies regulating B&B's in Scotland and Northern Ireland, the rules are likely to be interpreted differently in different areas.

Proportion of House Being Used for Business

Most local authorities would tend to look at the size of the B&B business as a proportion of the house when considering planning permission. If you had five bedrooms in the house and were going to let out one of the bedrooms on a B&B basis, then you would probably not need it.

But you would need planning permission if you were going to be using three bedrooms in the same house. Then again, three bedrooms in a nine bedroom house, for example, might not require it. There are other factors that affect planning permission change of use as well. If you are going to employ staff or have separate dining rooms and living rooms for guests then that would mean applying for it.

Building Regulations

With building regulations the issues are similar, but of course different. The main test for building regulations change of use will be whether or not the property will be a B&B (or hotel or boarding house) rather than a private house once the business is up and running. Again different local authorities will have different ways of deciding this.

Check with the Local Authority

Having said all this, the only way to find out for sure is to write to the local planning office telling them the exact address and outlining your plans. It probably won’t cost you anything and you will have the security of knowing that you're on the right side of the law.

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I live in a penthouse of 4 bedrooms and have tried to start bed and breakfast using two bedrooms but other residents have complained and management have sent me a copy of regulations underlining the part where subletting is not permitted.The Tourist Board has passed the premises.
Amber - 22-Jul-17 @ 6:59 PM
I am considering starting a B&B and have been told I need to apply for change of use by the local authority. If I do so, and am successful, does that mean I would have to pay business rates rather than council tax?
Jane - 16-Jul-17 @ 9:50 PM
I wouldliketo dob/b in my home only oneroom. DI I need permissionto do this
Charlie - 12-Jul-17 @ 8:38 AM
I would like to do B&B 2/3 night's a week. It would be renting a room in my own house. I know I have to have insurance but do I have to notify anyone else. I live in The Black Mountain's where there is a shortage of 1/2 night accommodation.
Scruffy2013 - 30-Apr-17 @ 11:02 AM
I am buying a new house with 3 double size bedrooms which I will be renting out residential, but I would like to do the B and B idea eventually.Apart from insurance and telling the mortagage provider I was not aware that planning permission would be needed!!! Nothing would change inside the house.Who else has had to get planning permission to sell rooms to visitors?
Mel - 22-Nov-16 @ 8:17 PM
I am trying to find out if I need planning permission to change 1 bedroom in a 4 bedroom house into a B&B. I have contacted the local authority, Trafford, but have been told I need to pay about £200 to get the advice I need. From everything I've read, it seems unlikely that I need permission, so paying £200 to find that out feels like a real waste of money. Does anyone have any words of wisdom? Thank you.
Springbokbaby - 19-Aug-16 @ 11:35 AM
I owe 2 terraced properties , 3 bedrooms (on mortgage) and I am trying to get a business or a new business start up loans to convert into 6/7 bedroom with planning permission. My main drawback is I have bad credit rating. Where can I get a loan please?
Sal - 16-Feb-16 @ 1:27 PM
I have a 1939 brick colonial (primitive) house. It has 3 bedrooms,2 of which I plan on using for our b&b. I desire to leave our home original,but only have one bathroom for the two rooms available.Can I get by with sharing a single bathroom with two rooms?
Jason - 3-Oct-15 @ 6:08 PM
@john. Ask your local building control officer or take a look at the regulations here
StartABedAndBreakfast - 5-Mar-15 @ 2:02 PM
What is the requirement for internal walls between bedrooms for insulation and sound proofing. My internal walls are lathe and plaster at the moment.
John - 2-Mar-15 @ 9:24 PM
Interesting. I believe it depends on the 'guests' and whether they are there for a short term 'holiday' or staying with you as longer term 'tenants'. One way perhaps of changing this status could be to register as a B&B and get assessed by QiT Visit England or the AA to get a rating? Check the HMO definition on line. Good Luck.
Helen - 24-Dec-14 @ 6:28 PM
I am confused, I have a house in which I allow guests, but my local aurthoritiy is saying it should be registered as an HMO! I would much rather see my home as either a guest house or a bed & breakfast,oreven a lodging house how can I define my houses proper use in legal terms?
russ - 20-Aug-14 @ 12:05 AM
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