The government has decided to make permanent the permitted development rights introduced in 2013 to convert office premises to residential use.
A statement issued today said that the temporary rule "will be made a permanent change – after almost 4,000 conversions were given the go-ahead between April 2014 and June this year."
Melanie Leech, British Property Federation chief executive said: "We have long championed the extension of office to residential permitted development right, believing the policy to be a useful tool in breathing life back into underused commercial space.
"The policy was never designed to deliver a huge number of new homes, but any trip through our suburbs soon exposes redundant office space that with the best will in the world is never going to be brought back into commercial use, and for such situations this policy is helpful."
In Brighton parts of the city centre are protected from conversion by an Article 4 Direction but the city has still seen applications for the conversion of 800,000 sq feet of office space.