Full width project banner image

The Blog

  • Show all categories
  • Buying Advice
  • Selling Advice
  • Tenant Advice
  • Landlord Advice
  • Buying Process
  • Selling Process
  • Renting Process
  • Lettings Process
  • Lettings Advice
  • Sales Advice
  • Success Story
  • Howard's Latest News
Jun 18, 2024 What is an EPC Certificate and Why Do You Need One?

If you're planning to sell your property, you've likely heard about Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs). These documents are crucial as they provide a detailed look at a property’s energy efficiency and typical energy costs. Similar to gas safety certificates, EPCs have been a legal requirement since 2008. This guide aims to answer your questions about EPCs. If you need more information, feel free to contact the team at Howards, your local estate agent in Norfolk and Suffol What is an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)? Think of an EPC like the energy rating stickers you see on new appliances, each property receives a rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient). This rating helps you understand how much it will cost to heat and cool your home. An EPC provides information on a property’s energy usage and typical costs, and it also offers recommendations on how to reduce energy use and increase efficiency. If you're a landlord or looking to sell your property, you need to obtain this certificate before putting your property on the market. If your EPC is still valid, you might be able to use the one you received when you bought the property. You can view EPCs for any property that has one on the national EPC register. Do I Need an EPC? Yes, since 2008, it's been a legal requirement to have an EPC if you're selling or renting out a property, this requirement also applies to commercial properties that you intend to sell or lease. There are a few exceptions to this rule: Rented rooms within a house (self-contained flats within a larger house that have their own front door and facilities will need one) Certain types of listed buildings Properties that cannot be modified to improve energy efficiency How Much Does an EPC Cost? If you're buying or renting a property, you should never be charged for an EPC, the seller or landlord (or their agent) should provide it for free. However, if you want to get an EPC for your own use, perhaps to find ways to improve your property’s energy efficiency, you will need to pay for it. The cost can range from around £35 to £120, so it's wise to shop around and get a few quotes. What Information is displayed on an EPC? An EPC resembles the multi-coloured energy rating stickers found on new household appliances. It includes: An energy efficiency rating Estimated costs of running your home A summary of energy performance-related features The energy efficiency rating, graded from A to G, shows how energy efficient your property is. Older properties without retrofitted energy-saving technology often fall around a D grade. Landlords must achieve at least an E grade and can face penalties of up to £4,000 for not meeting this requirement. The summary of energy performance-related features highlights how energy efficient different parts of your home are, this can guide you in focusing on areas that need improvement. Who Can Carry Out an EPC? An accredited domestic energy assessor must issue an EPC, you can find one through your estate or letting agent, or by searching for one on the EPC Register Selling or Letting Your Property with Howards If you have a property to sell or let, Howards can help you get it on the market and ready for viewings. Our team can guide you through the entire process, contact us today or visit your nearest branch for more information. By understanding the importance and requirements of an EPC, you can ensure your property meets legal standards and attracts potential buyers or tenants. If you need further assistance, Howards is here to help.

Jun 17, 2024 Understanding FENSA Certificates: Essential Information for Selling Your Property

Selling a property can be a complex process, requiring meticulous attention to detail and thorough preparation. Among the crucial aspects of this process is ensuring all necessary paperwork and certificates are in order, including the FENSA certificate. This article provides a comprehensive guide to FENSA certificates, their importance, and how to manage them effectively. For further assistance, Howards, a Norfolk/Suffolk-based estate agent, is available to offer expert guidance on all property-related matters. What is a FENSA Certificate? The Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme (FENSA) was established in April 2002 to ensure that construction companies adhere to building regulations concerning the installation of windows and doors. FENSA certificates confirm that the installation of double-glazed windows, doors, or roof lights meets specific thermal performance standards and complies with FENSA regulations. Additionally, these certificates verify that the installers are deemed competent, meaning they adhere to the relevant building requirements. Duration of a FENSA Certificate A FENSA certificate is valid for as long as the windows and doors it covers remain in the property. This means the certificate is tied to the property itself, not to the individual who owns it, ensuring that the installations were performed correctly and in compliance with regulations. Why Do You Need a FENSA Certificate? In essence, you cannot legally sell a property without a FENSA certificate if the windows were replaced after April 1, 2002. This certificate or an equivalent building regulations certificate is necessary to demonstrate legal compliance. Failing to have this documentation can result in fines or prosecution due to non-compliance with building regulations. Obtaining a FENSA Certificate To ensure you receive a FENSA certificate, always select an installer who is a member of the FENSA scheme. After completing the installation, the installer will provide you with a copy of the certificate, which should be kept safely. If you lose your certificate, you can request a replacement from the FENSA website for a small fee. Verifying a FENSA Certificate for Your Property You can verify the presence of a FENSA certificate for your property, or a property you are considering purchasing, by visiting the FENSA website. By providing the house number and postcode, you can check the certificate’s status, although this service incurs a fee of £25. The Role of a FENSA Certificate in Property Transactions During property transactions, conveyancers will inquire about FENSA certificates and other regulatory documents through standard inquiry forms. Providing all relevant certificates is crucial. Without a FENSA certificate, the sales process may be delayed as additional inquiries are conducted to confirm compliance. What If You Don't Have a FENSA Certificate? Lacking a FENSA certificate does not render your property unsaleable, several options are available: Retrospective Building Regulation Compliance Certificate: You can apply to your local authority for this certificate, which may take time and costs between £300 and £400. Local Authority Searches: Conveyancers can check with the local authority during the transaction process. These searches can reveal installation details, including certification status and installer information. Double Glazing Building Regulations Indemnity Insurance: If the work was completed over a year ago, you could obtain this insurance. It covers costs if installations did not comply with building regulations and enforcement action is taken. Potential Consequences of Non-Compliance While it is not illegal to buy or sell a home that is non-compliant with building regulations, it can cause significant delays. Non-compliant windows and doors must be checked and certified before the sale can proceed, a local authority may mandate corrective measures for any non-compliant work done on a property. Howards: Your Partner in Property Transactions As this guide illustrates, complying with regulations when installing new windows and doors is vital to avoid future complications. Always ensure your installer is registered with FENSA to guarantee your installations are properly certified. A FENSA certificate ensures that your property can be sold without legal or administrative issues. If you're looking to buy or sell property, Howards a Norfolk/Suffolk-based estate agent, is here to assist. We combine expert staff with advanced technology to market your property effectively. Contact us today to see how we can help you navigate the property market with ease.

Jun 17, 2024 Understanding Property Covenants: A Comprehensive Guide

When purchasing a property, it's crucial to be aware of property covenants, as they can significantly impact your plans. Breaching a covenant can lead to substantial financial consequences, so understanding these legal obligations is essential. What is a Covenant? A covenant is a legal obligation contained within the title deeds of a property that a new owner must adhere to. Typically, covenants apply indefinitely, meaning they affect all future owners of the property, therefore, it's important for buyers to identify any covenants associated with a property they are considering. Types of Covenants There are two primary types of covenants: positive and restrictive. Positive Covenants Positive covenants require property owners to perform specific actions or contribute financially to certain aspects within the property boundaries. Legally known as "burdens," these obligations often involve maintenance or shared responsibilities. Positive covenants usually involve two parties, with one party benefiting from the covenant. Restrictive Covenants More common than positive covenants, restrictive covenants impose limitations on what property owners can do within their property boundaries. These covenants often prohibit specific activities or alterations, such as construction work. Like positive covenants, there is typically a party that benefits from and enforces the restrictive covenant. Common Examples of Covenants Restrictive Covenants: Prohibiting property alterations, such as building extensions or converting a house into flats. Restricting the construction of buildings or other substantial structures on certain parts of the land. Banning the operation of trades or businesses on the property. Prohibiting the keeping of livestock. Positive Covenants: Maintaining a fence or shared driveway. Repairing a shared roof. Why Are Covenants Needed? Covenants provide landowners with control over how the land they sell is used and its appearance. Often, covenants are established during the initial sale of land, possibly from a Greenfield site to a residential development. The seller might insert a restrictive covenant to maintain the area's residential nature or ensure that any building alterations align with the area's character. Sign up today to be among the first to know about property for sale in your area. Consequences of Breaching a Covenant Breaching a covenant can have serious repercussions. Depending on the covenant, you might have to undo extensive projects, such as extensions, if they are not permitted. Legal action or financial penalties can also result from covenant breaches. Therefore, it is imperative to thoroughly understand your property deeds before making any significant changes. Modifying or Removing Covenants If a covenant on your property deeds seems unreasonable, you can apply to the Lands Chamber of the Upper Tribunal to have it modified or discharged. However, this process can be costly and time-consuming, additionally you may need to compensate the party benefiting from the covenant and cover legal fees. Frequently Asked Questions How to Find Covenants on Property: When purchasing a property, request your conveyancer to examine the title deeds thoroughly for any covenants. Once you sign the deeds, these covenants become your responsibility, breaching a covenant, even unknowingly can lead to liability. Should I Buy a House with a Restrictive Covenant? The decision depends on the specific restrictive covenant. If the covenant does not hinder your plans, such as not intending to make prohibited alterations, it might not affect your decision. However, if you plan to utilize significant land attached to the property for building, ensure there are no restrictive covenants. Are Covenants Legally Binding? Properly established covenants are legally enforceable. It's important to check if a covenant "runs with the land," meaning it applies to all future owners, or if it was only enforceable on the first owner. How Long Does a Covenant Last on a Property? Covenants typically last indefinitely, even if a covenant dates back to the 19th century or earlier, it retains its legal status. Nonetheless, some very old covenants might be considered unenforceable due to their archaic nature or irrelevance due to subsequent developments. What Does a Deed of Covenant Mean? A deed of covenant is a legal document where the party burdened with a covenant agrees to fulfil the covenant's obligations. Contact Howards for Assistance with Your Property Search If you're interested in purchasing a property, reach out to your local Howards branch for expert assistance and guidance. Being informed about property covenants ensures that you make well-informed decisions and avoid potential legal and financial pitfalls. Whether it's maintaining a shared space or adhering to restrictions, understanding these obligations is crucial for any property owner.

Jun 13, 2024 What is Share of Freehold?

When you hear about properties with both a leasehold and a freehold, you might come across the term "share of freehold." Understanding what this means can be crucial if you're considering buying such a property. Essentially, acquiring a share of freehold means you gain shared ownership of the building's freehold title. What Does Share of Freehold Mean Purchasing a property with a share of freehold implies that you own the leasehold for your specific property, and a share of the freehold for the land and the building. This concept is most commonly associated with the purchase of flats. In such cases, the flat owners possess the leasehold for their individual flats and collectively own the freehold for the entire building and the land it stands on. This collective ownership can be managed in two ways: Through joint management or a management company, regardless of the method, you’ll still hold a share of the freehold for the property. Limited Company Share of Freehold One common method of managing a share of freehold, particularly when there are more than four freeholders, is to create a private limited company. In this scenario, the company is registered as the building's freehold owner, while you and the other co-owners are registered as shareholders and directors of the company. Using this method means you'll need to navigate company law procedures as part of your homeownership responsibilities. Sometimes, it might be preferable to appoint one occupant as the company director, with the others remaining as shareholders. Sign up today to be among the first to know about property for sale in your area. Share of Freehold in Personal Names Often referred to as "tenants in common," this approach means that each person holds an equal percentage of the freehold. For example, four share of freehold owners would each hold 25% of the freehold. This method operates based on trust, which can be risky, but it generally involves fewer administrative fees than a limited company. Each owner is equally invested in the property, which can make this method suitable in certain situations. Is Share of Freehold the Same as Leasehold The primary difference between a leasehold and a share of freehold lies in ownership and obligations. With a leasehold, you own the lease of your property for a specified period (often decades or centuries) and pay ground rent to the freeholder, who owns the building and the land it stands on. In contrast, owning a share of freehold means you have a stake in the building's freehold along with the leasehold for your individual property. The Pros and Cons of Share of Freehold Owning a share of freehold comes with both benefits and potential drawbacks. Here’s a closer look at what you can expect. Share of Freehold Benefits Control over Property Maintenance: With a share of freehold, you and your fellow freeholders have a direct say in the upkeep and management of the building. This often results in a higher standard of property maintenance. Lower or No Ground Rent: Typically, there are lower or no ground rent costs involved. Lease Extension: You have the ability to extend your lease up to 999 years at no extra cost, which can prevent the devaluation of your property associated with shorter leases. Lower Service Charges: Since the management company is internal (comprised of you and your co-freeholders), service charges are generally lower. Problems with Share of Freehold Variable Service Charges: While some months may have minimal maintenance costs, there can be times when significant repairs are needed, leading to higher charges. Time-Consuming Administration: Managing the building’s affairs can be time-consuming and, if handled incorrectly, costly to rectify. Insurance Costs: Obtaining home insurance might be more complex and expensive. Rental Restrictions: Renting out your property can be difficult if your neighbours are opposed or if your lease has restrictive terms. Share of Freehold Extension While owning a share of freehold allows for lease extension without paying a premium, all freeholders must agree to the proposed extension. Their cooperation is crucial for the transaction. Even though co-freeholders do not have to extend their leases simultaneously, collective lease extension can lead to modernised and updated lease terms. Service Charges and Ground Rent Even with a share of freehold, you’ll still need to pay ground rent and service charges unless otherwise specified. However, because you co-own the freehold, it’s less likely you’ll face excessive or unfair charges. Transferring Share of Freehold When selling your leasehold property, you can transfer your share of the building’s freehold. This involves using a formal deed to transfer ownership from you and your co-shareholders to the new property owner and your co-shareholders. Getting a Mortgage on a Share of Freehold Property Securing a mortgage for a share of freehold property is possible, although some lenders may view the associated costs as a potential risk. Nonetheless, many lenders are willing to provide mortgages under these conditions, here are some tips to improve your chances: Long Lease: Choose a flat with a long remaining lease, as this positively impacts the property’s value. Management Company: Ensure a management company is in place in the property you’re considering. Higher Deposit: Be prepared for a higher deposit or interest rate, as only certain lenders might offer a mortgage for share of freehold properties. Let Us Help You with Your Next Move If you're thinking about purchasing a property with a share of freehold, Howards, is here to assist. Our experts have the knowledge and technology to help you move smarter and faster. Let us help you with your next move!

Jun 13, 2024 Buying a Second Home

There are numerous reasons why individuals may wish to purchase a second home. This might be for the enjoyment of a holiday retreat by the coast, a convenient city bolthole, or to provide a residence for a family member. It could also be intended as a holiday let or a long-term investment for the future. We have compiled the following guide to elucidate what purchasing a second home entails and how it differs from a standard house purchase. Can I Buy a Second Home Using Equity? Yes, it is indeed possible to buy a second property using the equity in your primary home. To secure a mortgage for a second home, you will need a deposit of 25%. A mortgage lender will assess whether you possess sufficient equity to cover the repayments on the second home mortgage. You can determine your available equity by subtracting the outstanding balance on your primary residence's mortgage from its current market value. Sign up today to be among the first to know about property for sale in your area. Does the Deposit Increase on a Second Home? Indeed, second home mortgages necessitate a minimum deposit of 25%, compared to the 5-10% typically required for a standard mortgage. You could potentially leverage the equity in your main home by remortgaging and using those funds as a deposit for your second property. What Kind of Mortgage Do I Need? You will need to apply for a second home mortgage. These mortgages involve more rigorous financial checks and criteria, as lenders must ensure you can manage mortgage payments on two properties. You may also need a specialised mortgage, depending on your intentions for the second home, such as: Buy to Let Mortgage: if you plan to rent out the property Holiday Let Mortgage: if you intend to let the property on a short-term basis to holidaymakers Is It More Difficult to Get a Mortgage on a Second Home? Securing a mortgage for a second home is indeed more challenging, lenders are aware that applicants already have significant financial obligations due to their primary residence mortgage. In addition to the larger deposit requirement of 25%, lenders will require proof of a substantial income that can cover mortgage repayments for two properties, they will also consider your age and how long you can maintain your current income level. How Does Buying a Second Home Impact Tax? Purchasing a second property has notable tax implications. You will incur a higher stamp duty rate than on your primary residence and will not benefit from the 0% rate on properties up to £250,000. The current rates (as of August 2023) for stamp duty on additional properties are as follows: Up to £250,000: 3% £250,001 - £925,000: 8% £925,001 - £1.5 million: 13% Above £1.5 million: 15% Capital gains tax is also applicable, basic rate taxpayers will pay 18% on any increase in value if they sell a property that is not their main residence. The only way to avoid paying capital gains tax on a second home is if the increase in the property's value is less than the individual capital gains allowance, currently set at £12,000. You will also need to pay council tax on the second home, unless you qualify for an exemption or discount. More information about council tax exemptions can be obtained from your local council. What Are the Additional Costs Involved? Purchasing a second property entails all the standard costs associated with buying a home, such as mortgage arrangement fees, mortgage valuation fees, conveyancing costs, and buildings insurance. Let Us Help with Your Property Search If you are contemplating purchasing a second home, we at Howards can assist you. Please contact your local branch today!

Jun 13, 2024 How Much Deposit Do I Need to Buy a House?

If you're dreaming of owning your own home, the first step is saving for a deposit. In this article, we'll explore the importance of a deposit in the home-buying process, how much you need, and tips for saving more. We'll also discuss if it's possible to get a mortgage without a deposit. What Is a House Deposit? A deposit is the amount of money a first-time buyer needs to put down from their own savings before getting a mortgage. This is your initial equity in the property, most lenders require a minimum deposit of 5% of the property price. For example, if a house costs £200,000, you would need a deposit of £10,000. How to Save for a Deposit? Saving for a deposit can be challenging, especially when you're young. However, if you live with your parents and earn an average salary, saving can be more manageable. If you're renting, you might need to make some sacrifices to save money, but it’s possible. Aim to save about 20% of your disposable income each month. Consider savings accounts with good interest rates or a Lifetime ISA (LISA), which offers a 25% government bonus on savings up to £4,000 per year. Sign up today to be among the first to know about property for sale in your area. Understanding Loan-to-Value (LTV) Loan-to-value (LTV) is the ratio of your mortgage to the property's value. A higher LTV means higher risk for the lender, which can make it harder to get favourable mortgage deals. Saving a larger deposit improves your LTV making you a more attractive borrower, however first-time buyers often have a higher LTV. Can I Get a Mortgage with No Deposit? Yes, but 100% mortgages are rare and only offered by a few lenders. To qualify, you need a good credit history and a guarantor, who offers their property as security for part of the mortgage. If you default, the guarantor is responsible for the shortfall. Benefits of a Larger Deposit Lower Repayments & Better Deals A larger deposit reduces the amount you need to borrow, leading to lower monthly repayments. You'll also have access to better mortgage deals, as lenders view you as a lower risk. Higher Acceptance Chances Lenders are more likely to approve your mortgage application if you have a larger deposit, as it shows you can manage monthly repayments more easily. Reduced Risk A larger deposit reduces the risk for lenders. If property values fall, you’re less likely to owe more than the house is worth, protecting you from negative equity. Boosting Your Deposit: Options Help-to-Buy The Help to Buy Scheme assists first-time buyers in purchasing new-build properties with a small or minimum deposit. Buyers can get an equity loan of up to 20% of the property's value (40% in London), interest-free for the first five years. This scheme has specific eligibility criteria and a regional maximum property price. Shared Ownership Shared Ownership allows you to buy a share of a house and pay rent on the remaining share. You can purchase larger shares over time. Key points include: Income limits: £80,000 outside London, £90,000 within London Purchase shares between 25% and 75% of the property's value Available to first-time buyers, existing shared owners, or previous homeowners who can't afford a new home Applies to new builds and existing properties, which are always leasehold Buying with Friends As property prices rise, buying with friends has become popular, this approach allows you to jointly own a property and share the mortgage. A cohabitation agreement or deed of trust is essential to outline property division and what happens if someone wants to move out or sell their share. Note that all parties are jointly and severally liable for the mortgage debt. Family Assistance Many homebuyers receive financial help from family. Options include: A financial gift (gifted deposit) A loan Linking savings accounts Acting as a guarantor Lifetime ISA (LISA) A Lifetime ISA (LISA) helps you save for your first home, the government adds a 25% annual bonus on savings up to £4,000 per year. You can contribute to a LISA until age 50, after which it continues to accrue interest but without the bonus. LISAs are available to those aged 18-39. Buy-to-Let Deposits For buy-to-let mortgages, the required deposit is significantly higher, usually between 20-40% of the property value. Frequently Asked Questions When Do I Pay My Deposit? You typically pay your deposit at the exchange of contracts, securing your commitment to proceed with the purchase. Who Do I Pay My Deposit To? You transfer the funds to your conveyancing solicitor, who then pays the seller’s solicitor when contracts are exchanged. Can I Borrow Money to Pay for My Deposit? Using a loan to fund a deposit is possible, but mortgage brokers will scrutinize your ability to repay both the loan and the mortgage. Loans from family members are generally more favourable than those from loan companies. Does Bad Credit Affect the Amount of Deposit I Need? Yes, bad credit can affect your mortgage application. Lenders will consider factors like your debt-to-income ratio, the nature of the bad credit, and the amount of debt. A stable recent history of income and employment can help your case. For more information about your next mortgage, visit Howards, your premier estate agent in Suffolk.

Jan 25, 2023 Gifting property: Can I sell my house to my child for £1?

Gifting property to children is becoming more and more commonplace. As the price of property climbs ever higher, this is one solution families are using to get their children onto the property ladder. There are tax implications, however, and it may not be the solution to all your financial issues. Here we look at what happens if you decide to sell your property to a family member for a nominal value. Is this the same as gifting property to children? Yes. Although it will still require conveyancers to handle the legal aspects, the change in ownership will qualify as a gift. Legally it won’t be regarded as a sale, but a token value has to be involved. What do I need to do to sell my house for £1? A conveyancing solicitor will need to be instructed, in order to handle the transfer of the deeds from you to your son or daughter, or other family member. Contracts are still exchanged and completion dates confirmed. So there will still be legal fees to pay. If you own the property with a mortgage, it might not be possible to sell for a purely nominal figure like £1. If there is an amount outstanding on your mortgage, this will need to be covered by the person you are gifting the property to. So it would make sense for this to be the price of the gift. What are the other costs involved? Mortgage redemption costs for gifted property If you do still have a mortgage, are you in a discounted term? If so there will be a redemption figure to pay, along with any outstanding borrowing. Ask your solicitor to contact your mortgage provider for a mortgage redemption statement. Legal fees You will be charged legal fees by your solicitor, but as their workload is not as heavy as a conventional property sale it may be worth asking for a reduced fee. Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on gifted property You are not liable to pay capital gains tax on gifted properties if it has been your Principal Private Residence. There will be CGT to pay if it was used as a business premises or rented out. From any CGT bill you can deduct capital improvement costs, stamp duty, legal fees and estate agents’ fees. Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) on gifted properties If there is no mortgage on the property, there will be no stamp duty incurred. Standard rates of stamp duty will apply if the mortgage exceeds the stamp duty threshold. Stamp duty is also paid if your child already owns another home and is either using the gifted property as a second home or renting it out. Inheritance Tax (IHT) on gifted properties This is one of the main reasons why people prefer to gift property, rather than leave it to children as part of their estate when they pass away. If you do not die within seven years of making the gift, there is no inheritance tax to pay. If parents die within three years, inheritance tax is charged at 40%. After this inheritance tax is charged at what is called ‘taper relief’, and only if the value of the gift exceeds the tax-free threshold. Income Tax on gifted properties There will only be income tax implications if your son or daughter chooses to rent out the property they are gifted, either to you or someone else. Capital gains tax will also need to be paid in this circumstances if the property is sold at a later date. Can I avoid care home fees by gifting my house? People may be tempted into thinking that gifting their property effectively ‘disposes’ of it, so it can’t be used to measure what you can afford should you have to go into a care home. However, this is seen as deliberate ‘deprivation of assets’, especially if the gift is made a short period of time before the care home fees are required to be paid. Local authorities will judge on what the intent was behind your decision to gift the property, and the value of the property will usually still be counted as part of your assets. Sign up today to be among the first to know about property for sale in your area. Can I give my child money to buy a house? Yes. If you want to help your son or daughter raise a deposit you can make a gift to them. All the beneficiary needs to do is provide written confirmation to their mortgage provider that it is a gift, so that it is clear it is not a loan that has to be repaid. Let us help value your property If you are thinking of gifting your house to your child, but are interested to know how much your property will be worth when it is transferred, please get in touch with us and we will provide a free property valuation for you.

Jan 25, 2023 What is a studio flat, and should you choose a studio or one bedroom flat?

If you are looking for a flat to rent and you only need one bedroom, you don’t necessarily need a one bedroom flat. If your budget is tight, or the area you want to live is expensive, a studio flat or studio apartment could be ideal. What is the difference between a studio flat and one bedroom flat? The main difference is that a studio flat has a single living space, with a separate bathroom, whereas a one bedroom flat has the bedroom in a separate room to the living area or lounge. Studio flats are usually smaller than one bedroom flats (but not always). In a studio flat the main living area will be arranged so that there is usually enough room for a bed, wardrobe and storage units, a lounge space for a sofa, coffee table and dining table, a kitchen or kitchenette. What should you consider when choosing a studio flat or one bedroom flat Advantages of a studio flat The main benefit is that the rental charge for studio flats will be lower than one bedroom flats of a similar standard and specification. Studio flats also tend to have a more spacious feel than one bedroom apartments. Another advantage is that studio flat tenants will usually have lower energy bills than those in one bedroom flats because there is a smaller space to heat. Never underestimate the fact it is also less space to clean! Advantages of a one bedroom flat The main advantage of a one bedroom flat is that the flat will have a more conventional floor plan, with the bedroom being in a separate room to the living room and kitchen. This gives more privacy for people living there. A couple, for example, could have different work patterns, so may have to sleep during times when their partner is at home in the living area. A one bedroom flat will usually mean a larger area for storage space too. Renting a studio flat Studio flat layout The common layout of a studio flat is composed of a main living space with a kitchen area or kitchenette, and a separate bathroom. People renting a studio often divide up the living space into separate areas by using things like floor to ceiling bookcases, room divider curtains or sliding doors. What is the minimum size for a studio flat? By law a studio flat has to be 70 square feet to house one tenant, and two tenants require minimum floor space of 110 square feet. A typical studio flat is around 250 square feet. The largest studio flats (excluding loft apartments) are usually about 600 square feet. Are all bills included with a studio flat? Sometimes landlords include all bills in the rental for a studio flat, but not always. Check with the letting agent whether bills like gas, electric, water and council tax are all-inclusive. Sign up today to be among the first to know about property to rent in your area. Different types of studio flat What is a self-contained studio flat? If accommodation is described as a ‘self-contained studio flat’, it means it is a single room with living space, kitchen and bathroom facilities self-contained within it. There are no shared facilities, but these kind of studio flats are likely to be much smaller than a typical studio. The ‘bathroom’ in a self-contained studio is likely to just be part of the single accommodation unit, rather than a separate room. What is a semi studio flat? A ‘semi-studio flat’ is a term increasingly used by letting agents to describe accommodation that is significantly smaller than an average studio flat or self-contained studio flat, but usually with the same basic elements. Some semi-studios are too small to have a sink, toilet and shower, so you may have to share bathroom facilities with other tenants of the building. Making the right choice for you If you want to know more about renting a studio flat or the types of studio flat Howards have available, talk to our expert team today!