Landlord insurance clients wishing to alter their properties will find plenty of guidance about the permissions that are needed by searching the internet . A Watford landlord did not bother with the rules; he unlawfully divided two properties into a total of seven units, some of which were described as “tiny and uninhabitable”. He was ordered to pay fines and costs of more than £30,000. The landlord had committed similar offences in the same area in 2006 and his total fines and costs orders are now approaching £40,000.

The latest prosecutions were brought after Watford Borough Council issued enforcement notices that were ignored. The mayor, Dorothy Thornhill said: “We will not tolerate the illegal creation of substandard and dangerous accommodation. People who pay rent have the right to expect decent conditions in which to live.”

It always pays to check with your local council before carrying out any work. Your insurers may also need to be advised about what you are planning.