this article, I’d like to cover HMO Planning
and Article 4. I’ll be covering HMO Licensing
in another article, but I’d like to make this
distinction to start with – planning has noting
to do with licensing, and vice versa. Often, people
put ‘planning and licensing’ together,
and although it is important that they are looked
at and addresses correctly, they are separate entities,
separate subject matters, separate departments at
the Council and have separate rules. In this article,
we’re focussing on planning.
the caveat for the information is this article is
this: rules can (and do) vary from council to council,
so ALWAYS check with the local council and don’t
I’ll give you the ‘big picture’
rule and the ‘yes but’ rule.
quick point of clarification first:
normal residential house is Class C3 Residential
Dwelling (planning class), an HMO of 3-6 rooms is
a Class C4 HMO. 7 or more rooms is still an HMO,
but it goes into a different ‘box’ in
planning terms, and it goes into the ‘suis
generis’ category / planning class (a Latin
term meaning ‘of its own kind). In most areas
of the country, you do not need planning permission
for the “change of use” (key term) from
C3 to C4, you can just do it. So in most areas of
the country, you can change a normal residential
house into an HMO of up to 6 rooms without having
to obtain planning permission for change of use.
(For clarity, Suis Generis Class HMO’s are
not Class C4 HMO’s so do not have permitted
development rights, and will require planning permission).
‘yes but’ rule however is Article 4.
When the central government relaxed the planning
laws to make C4 HMO’s permitted development
(in October 2010), they also included a ‘yes
but’ piece of legislation that local councils
could use to ‘override’ this permitted
development right and still require people to apply
for planning permission for this ‘change of
use’. This direction is called an Article
4 Direction. In very simple terms, it means that
if an area / council has an Article 4 direction,
you still need to apply for planning permission
to change the ‘use’ of a normal residential
house into an HMO.
common mis-understanding is that Article 4 means
you can’t do HMO’s in that area any
more. This is not the case. It simply means that
you need to apply for planning permission, just
like you used to have to do before the law changed
in Oct 2010.
you'd like to receive my latest FREE training videos
(hints, tips, how to guides, HMO FAQ’s etc)
as soon as they're ready, visit my website now and
register your details: www.TheHMOGuy.com