Letting first floor of a house

I have a house with 2 bathrooms (one on the ground and first floor). The ground floor is occupied so I want to rent the first floor as a suite of rooms i.e. 2 bedrooms, a sitting room/diner plus private bathroom.
Basically like a 2 bedroom flat but sharing the ground floor kitchen and garden. I’ve used openrent previously but can’t fathom how to do it with this new configuration. Help

  1. Is this a converted property where the first floor is fully separated?
  2. How is the ground floor occupied? By you or another tenant?
  3. If occupied by another tenant, what does their tenancy agreement say they are renting?

Answers to these questions will help determine which type of tenancy and whether the property will be an HMO.


I inherited the house. I have a family member move in on the ground floor, the house was previously owned by a disabled relative who couldn’t access stairs hence another bathroom was built downstairs. It’s still one house no separate entrances or anything.

If its all one property then its trickier, assuming that the family member is not one of the property owners.

With regard to the tenancy, I think you could probably construct something that gave the tenant exclusive possession of the first floor of the property, but I think it would need to be a bespoke AST. You would have to grant shared use of the hallway and stairs. Is there any other part of the ground floor that they would have access to? Boiler controls? meter cupboard? fusebox? Garden? If you’re not confident about drafting this to be clear and legally binding, I would suggest you speak to a solicitor about it.

As the top floor is not self contained, I think the whole house would be an HMO if there are 3 or more people living there in total. If its 5 more more then its mandatory licensable. If its 3 or 4 people, it would depend on the local authority licensing policy. In either case you would need to follow the provisions of the HMO Management Regulations and probably get a Fire Risk Assessment.

Does the top floor have a separate supply for gas, electricity, water etc? If not have you thought about how you will bill them for these? You could have an inclusive rent. What about Council Tax? Can they have a separate phone line installed upstairs?

Many things to think about.

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Thanks David122, I really appreciate the input…

The downstairs hallway leads to the kitchen from where you access the garden and there’s an under stairs cupboard in the hallway too that houses the fuse box and meters.

I factored in my paying gas, electric, council tax, landlords insurance and safety certificates. I wasn’t thinking about a landline due to practically everyone having mobile phones these days…

What if the resident family member has a tenancy agreement and sublets upstairs? Just a thought.

I have split up a couple of properties .But I split the electrics and put in a sub meter with cards that the tenant pre buys off me. then you can accurately determine how it is used. Does that mean the conrtol for heating is in one persons hands ? Tricky.

Yes, I did think about the scenario of the family member subletting. It helps in some ways but not in others. I don’t think the upstairs tenants would be lodgers, (licensees) as they’re not really sharing living accommodation. I think they would probably be common law tenants or what Shelter describes as occupiers with basic protection. It means you wouldn’t need a court order to evict them, which is a bonus. It does, however, mean that the family member would have a host of legal responsibilities as a landlord that they are probably ill-equipped for. The HMO provisions would also apply if its more than 3 people in total.

I don’t think you would need to install a landline upstairs necessarily, but your tenant may want broadband unless you include that in the rental as well.

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Thanks so much very helpful suggestions.