Does your HMO project require planning permission?

hmo Planning Permission hmo guides

HMO Planning Permission – Easier than Ever!

The latest amendments to the Use Class and Permitted Development regulations have made it now easier than ever for landlords, developers and investors to get their HMO projects operational. It wasn’t too long ago that most HMOs would be required to obtain planning permission from the local council in order to implement the slightest of changes to the structure or the Use Class. However, as HMOs have now been allotted a special use class of their own, this no longer remains the case.

The most important element of this change is that Permitted Developed allows for the change of Use Class from C3 to C4 and vice versa. This means that:

  • Landlords and freeholders can now freely implement conversions from a single family “dwellinghouse” to an HMO, without having to obtain a planning permission.
  • Similarly, landlords and freeholders can convert their HMOs back to dwellinghouses, should the need to do so arise, without requiring a planning permission for the same.

This, however, doesn’t mean that ALL HMO build or conversion projects can do without planning permission from the local council. Here are the scenarios in which your HMO project will require relevant planning permission:

  • If the Change of Use exceeds the Use Class C4, you’re required to obtain planning permission. This essentially means that all HMOs that intend to house more than 6 unrelated tenants and as such is classified as “Sui Generis”, must have planning permission. This includes new build HMO projects as well as conversion/refurbishment projects. Please refer to our HMO guide detailing HMO use classes for more information.
  • In some cases, if the local council has enforced the Article 4 Direction (see below) to remove permitted developed rights for HMOs, then all HMO projects, regardless of the change of use class, will be required to obtain planning permission.

What are Permitted Development Rights & Article 4 Directions?

Permitted Development Rights enable certain types of work to be undertaken without needing to apply for planning permission. They derive from a general planning permission granted not by the local authority, but by Parliament. Bear in mind that the permitted development rights which apply to many common projects for houses do not apply to flats, maisonettes or other buildings. Similarly, commercial properties have different permitted development rights to dwellings.

Where an Article 4 Direction has been issued by the local planning authority, this means that some / all Permitted Development Rights have been removed in a local area. For all areas where an Article 4 Direction exists, you will have to submit a planning application for all types of building / development work which normally don’t need one.

Article 4 Directions are made when the character of an area of acknowledged importance would be threatened. They are most common in conservation areas and also parts of City’s where the social, environmental and economic change can be dramatically affected by a large density of students for example – a process referred to as “Studentification”

HMOs and Permitted Planning – Know Where You Stand

Before starting any HMO project, it’s in your best interests to determine whether your project falls within the “permitted development rights”, or whether you’ll be required to obtain planning permission.

As a reputable, experienced and resourceful HMO Broker, Commercial Finance Network are an invaluable ally to have on your side in such cases. All you have to do is reach out to us and we will have our HMO experts answer all your queries right away.