Thinking about renting out your garden room? Maybe you are deciding whether you want one and are trying to figure out all the ins and outs in case you don’t use it like you think you will. That’s smart. Or maybe you have purchased a house that already has a garden room on the property and you want to know exactly what your rights are as the owner.

Typically, garden rooms are built for the purpose of a home office, gym, game room, etc. According to Outdoor Building Group, which builds garden rooms in Scotland, it is possible to live in some garden rooms and even rent them out, but you must pay close attention to the planning laws in your area. Certain permissions are required in order to rent your garden room out.

What Would My Garden Room Need in Order to Rent It Out?

Before applying for planning permission, your garden room will need some amenities:

  • Bathroom, which requires plumbing, electricity, and water supply.
  • Kitchen, which needs proper wiring and plumbing as well.
  • Acceptable sleeping quarters. There should be a space big enough for a small bed for a sleeping area.
  • Smoke detector and carbon monoxide detectors need to be installed or replaced to ensure proper compliance.
  • There should be a fire extinguisher inside in case of a fire.
  • It should be fully insulated with enough heat and air included.
  • According to This Is Money, there should be at least two windows that open so there is proper air circulation.
  • You will also need to figure out the taxes and insurance that comes with renting it out.

There is a lot that goes in to renting out your garden room. It’s easiest to just call around and do your homework.

First Steps

There are things that you need to find out before diving head-first into plans to rent out your garden room.

  • Call your local planning office to find out exactly what you need to do. This is where most of your information is going to come from. They will tell you what documentation you need for planning permission, which planning permission to apply for, and what features or certifications your garden room needs for you to rent it out.
  • Call your insurance provider to find out what type of insurance you will need to carry on it.
  • Get any necessary inspections and certifications on the building.
  • Start making crucial changes on your garden room to make it an acceptable living quarter.

All the necessary changes to your garden room will have to be completed before you can get permission.

What Planning Permission Do I Need to Apply for?

If you are building a garden room, get permission to make it into a dwelling from the beginning. That way in the long run, if you do decide to rent it out, you will already have a big step out of the way.

If you bought the property containing the garden room, you will need to check with the existing planning permission if applicable. If the garden room doesn’t already have planning permission, you will need to get it.

If it does have planning permission, you will probably need to apply for a change of use. That’s the application you fill out if you already have planning permission and just need to change the use of it from office to living quarters for instance. Read more about change of use planning permission at Planning Portal.

For a very lucky few, the previous owners already used it for living quarters and already had permission for this purpose. But it is more realistic to expect to have to apply for some form of planning permission in this process.

Penalties for Not Getting Permission

You should always obey the law in your area on building regulations and permission. Not obeying could come at a hefty price! According to The Mirror, a landlord was ordered to pay £14,000 for continuing to rent out his garden room after being denied permission. Judging by that, I’d say the benefits outweigh the risks by a long shot.

A Word of Advice

The best thing to do in this situation is to find out all facts first so you know which direction to go. Don’t begin construction solely on the basis that you are going to rent it out without first speaking to your local planning office. There could be reasons that the land can’t be used for that purpose or some reason you can’t get the permission you need, and then you would be out a lot of money for nothing.

It can be a very confusing process if you let it be. Finding out exactly which permission you need, if any, can significantly reduce the stress that comes along with it. It may take time and a little money to get the proper permission in order to rent out your garden room, but it will be worth it in the long run compared to the risks of not getting permission.

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