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Navigating the new Class MA with Nimbus: A guide for property investors and developers

07/03/2024

At Nimbus, we always keep our finger firmly on the pulse of the property industry. Recently, there has been a significant regulation update that we believe all landlords, property investors and developers should be aware of. The introduction of Class MA marks a pivotal uplift in the opportunity in commercial to residential conversion - under certain conditions. 

Understanding Class MA: A game-changer for property investors and developers 

Class MA is a game-changer for property professionals. It enables the conversion of buildings from Use Class E (commercial, business, and service) to residential dwellings. Legislation updates, effective from 5th March 2024, streamline the conversion process and expands the potential for lucrative property investment and development. 

Commercial conversions 

How to unlock the potential of Class MA  

While Class MA opens new doors for property investors, it's essential to navigate the process with a clear understanding of the regulations and requirements. Here are some key insights to consider:  

  • Expanded scope: Class MA applies to a wide range of commercial properties, including shops, offices, restaurants, gyms, and more, offering flexibility in conversion possibilities.
  • No floor space limit: Unlike previous regulations, there is no limit to the floor space that can now be converted under Class MA, providing greater freedom for property owners.  
  • Application process: To benefit from Class MA, compliance with application procedures, documentation requirements, and fees is necessary, but the process is dealt with under prior approval which is a simplified planning process with a presumption in favour of development.
  • Additional planning considerations: Property developers should be aware of any additional planning requirements, especially for external changes such as windows or doors which can often be successfully dealt with under a separate application before the change of use application is submitted. 

Easily identify Class MA opportunities in your preferred location. (1)


Class MA: Opening doors to new opportunities 

Class MA is particularly useful for Class E commercial landlords seeking to repurpose vacant or redundant commercial units. It also offers opportunities for property investors and developers looking to add value to buildings through smart planning. With Class MA, property wealth can be generated without navigating the normal planning channels.  

To initiate the Class MA planning process, a ‘Prior Approval’ planning application must be submitted to the local planning authority to assess compliance with GPDO requirements. This application process incurs a fee of £100 per dwelling and takes 56 days. Once granted, there is a three-year window to carry out the approved works. 

While Class MA presents opportunities, certain restrictions apply. The Prior Approval application will be assessed against criteria such as vacancy, date stamp, and floor space limits. Restrictions include prohibitions on properties located in specific areas (such as Article 2 (3) areas) and conditions regarding transport impacts, contamination risks, noise, and fire safety. 

NIMBUS_Blog Post Image-2 

Looking ahead: Navigating what’s next  

As regulations and opportunities continues to evolve, it's crucial for investors and developers to stay informed and proactive. At Nimbus, we're committed to empowering property professionals with the tools and data you need to thrive in a competitive and fast-paced environment.

Whether you're exploring opportunities under Class MA or seeking expert insights on what your next move should be, our team is here to support you every step of the way. 


Connect with Nimbus 

Ready to explore the potential of Class MA and embark on your next property venture? Reach out to our helpful team to schedule a free personalised demo – to show you how unlock viable opportunities off market. Whatever your go-to property strategy, we can help you achieve your property goals. 


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