Use Classes Order (planning permission for HMO’s).

Jul 7th 2010

The Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, has made an announcement to undo legislation brought in under Labour that would require all new landlords of homes shared by three or more people to obtain planning permission on the property.

From October 1st 2010 councils will individually be able to choose whether to place the requirement on property owners locally. Councils will have the freedom to choose areas where landlords must submit a planning application to rent their properties to unrelated tenants. However, councils will have to consult with local stakeholders first and then have to use a piece of legislation known as Article 4 to submit their intent to Central Government to be approved. This process could take up to a year.

"The definition of a small HMO (the C4 use class) will remain and permitted development rights will be extended to allow all changes between the C4 and C3classes without the need for planning applications. In areas where there is a need to control HMO development, local authorities will be able to use an Article 4 direction to remove these permitted development rights and require planning applications for such changes of use.

These proposals mean that any change of use between dwelling houses and small HMO's will be able to happen without planning permission unless the local council believes there is a problem with such development in a particular area. In these areas they will be able to use Article 4 powers to require planning permission."

To those landlords who have already purchased properties and require planning permission our advice is not to apply for planning permission and to wait until October 1st 2010. If you have a tenancy that commences before that date and occupation is going to take place before October 1st then you may or may not have action taken against you. Please seek advice from the planning department about this.