Can I convert my stables into a house? (a complete guide)

In this article, we will answer the following question: Can I convert my stables into a house? We will discuss the steps to convert the stables into a house; the matter of building permits, worm permits and change of destination of a building. 

Can I convert my stables into a house?

Yes, you can convert your stables into a house, and the good news is that you won’t need a building permit for this if the changes you plan on making are not that big. 

By fine-tuning your project, you know that the work will neither have the effect of modifying the exterior appearance (no window opening, for example) nor the effect of affecting the supporting structures of the construction.  In addition, the planned work will not induce the creation of additional surface (or additional interior volume).

You will therefore limit yourself to simple interior fittings to make the stables habitable. Thus, you will not need to apply for a specific permit for this.

Here is a summary of the changes you can make to convert your stables into a house without a building permit:

  1. Replacement of the old stables entrance, with a new door;
  2. Insulation of walls, floors and the ceiling;
  3. Insulation of the existing concrete slab, for thermal comfort
  4. Connection to the various networks: electricity, heating, water (if there is a bathroom);
  5. Creation of interior partitions (depending on the project);
  6. Painting and floor coverings.

What does the law say: Can I convert my stables into a house?

In almost all cases, the town planning code requires that you submit a prior declaration of change of destination when an existing building sees its destination change. 

If you live in a house in an agricultural area to which a barn or stables is attached and you want to transform the latter into a dwelling, it is very likely that your barn has an agricultural destination.

You will therefore have to submit a prior declaration of change of destination. Contact your town hall to collect the form required to make your prior declaration.

Please note: This administrative and fiscal change is essential to obtain the building permit, which is now compulsory in the event of work during a change of destination of premises.

Depending on the case, the authorization required to renovate an old house can be accepted or refused by the town hall.

  • If the stables are isolated on the land: When stables are built on a parcel of agricultural land with no surrounding living quarters, the building may fall under a ban on change of destination. 

The stables, however duly built, cannot obtain a positive town planning certificate. This point is very important for the rest of the project. Indeed, without a change of destination, no building permit so no official residence!

  • If the stables are built close to a house: In the event that the stables are located not far from a dwelling, most often a change of destination is possible, but again, the town hall can decide by municipal decree that such a change of destination is not authorized. 

In addition, when the construction of the barn is recent, it may have been carried out by exemption by a farmer and associated as such with exclusively agricultural use.

  • If the stables are attached to a house: If the stables to be renovated are attached to a house, it is an extension of the latter (like a garage) and can therefore be fitted out a priori without pitfalls. 

However, each municipality being master of the town planning characteristics of its territory, it is better to inquire before incurring costs with the town hall that the adjoining barn is registered for residential use.

Our advice: In terms of town planning, the evidence of a strong similarity with a neighbouring case is ultimately never as obvious as that! From one municipality to another and from one state to another, authorizations can be subject to very different rules. 

If the stables you fell for does not a priori provide all the guarantees of being able to change the destination, add to your sales agreement a suspensive clause for obtaining a building permit with sufficient time to be able to disengage before it’s too late.

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When I need a building permit or work permit to transform my stables?

Theoretically, the building permit or the planning permission is not compulsory in the context of a change of destination of premises. In practice, however, as soon as house renovation work is undertaken inside the stables (creation of partitions, installation of sanitary facilities, etc.), and outside (modification of the facade, creation of an opening, etc. ) prior authorization will be required to do this work. 

In other words, and unless you do not renovate anything at all (which is unlikely), you will have to go through an application for a building permit if the surface created is greater than 20 m² or a work permit if the surface created is less than 20 m².

When the stables are not connected to the water and electricity networks, the town hall can block a building permit if the networks are too far away. Concerning more specifically sanitation, the town hall cannot affix a veto due to the remoteness of the collection facilities, but in this case, the rehabilitation project must include an individual sanitation system up to standards.

Should I employ an architect to convert my stables into a house?

Knowing that the renovation of a barn often involves the creation of large habitable volumes (floor space + upstairs area), the question of whether to hire an architect to renovate a barn into a dwelling must be posed. And on this point, the rule is the same for an agricultural building as for any other building: as soon as the footprint or the floor area exceeds 150 m², the use of an architect is mandatory.

To obtain the floor area of construction, it is necessary to measure the areas of each level both closed and covered, calculated from the interior bare of the facades, then to deduce the areas corresponding to the thickness of the walls surrounding the walls openings of doors and windows leading to the outside, voids and hoppers (planned openings) of stairs and elevators, floor areas with a ceiling height less than or equal to 1.80 m, floor areas in attics not convertible for housing. 

Likewise, roof terraces and loggias are not taken into account for the calculation of the floor area of ​​a building.

In the case of stables attached to a house, the floor area determining whether or not the construction is more than 150 m2 includes the floor area of ​​the barn AND the floor area of ​​the attached house.

The bottom line

In summary, it is completely possible to convert your stables into a house. Depending on where you leave, you may need a working permit if the surface created is less than 20 m², or a building permit if the surface created is greater than 20 m² and if you want to make bigger changes, such as adding windows, walls or even a bathroom.

Our advice is, before committing to a change, to investigate and talk with a local council representative to find about the rules and permits required in your city and state. 

If you have any other questions or comments about the content, please let us know! 

FAQ on Can I convert my stables into a house?

Do you need planning permission to convert stables?

You do not need planning permission to convert tables into a house, however, you may need to check with the local authority if you are allowed to make some changes regarding noise pollution, contamination risks and flooding risks.

Can you turn a horse barn into a house?

Yes, it is possible to turn a horse barn into a house. By fine-tuning your project, you know that the work will neither have the effect of modifying the exterior appearance (no window opening, for example) nor the effect of affecting the supporting structures of the construction.  

How long does a barn conversion take?

A barn conversion will take a minimum of five weeks, depending on how “big” your project is, but also on how things go with the inspector representative from the local council. 

References

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