The Government has published an amendment to the Use Classes Order that is designed to give local planning authorities more control over student and other tenanted accommodation, from as few as three tenants.
As indicated in an earlier news article, this will enable the Council to identify new HMOs with more certainty and target specific areas where there is a need to restore community balance. Policy CS41 in the adopted Core Strategy for Sheffield states that mixed communities will be promoted by limiting new or conversions to Houses in Multiple Occupation where the community is already imbalanced by a concentration of such uses or where the development would create imbalance.
Article 2(3) amends Use Class C3 (dwellinghouses) to remove from its scope certain small scale houses in multiple occupations. (This definition brings 3 or more tenants into the HMO definition (C4)).
Article 2(4) introduces a new Use Class (houses in multiple occupation) which, subject to an exception, covers use of a dwellinghouse as a house in multiple occupation as defined in section 254 of the Housing Act 2004. In broad terms, this use occurs where tenanted living accommodation is occupied by persons as their only or main residence, who are not related, and who share one or more basic amenities.
Because the new House in Multiple Occupation Use Class (C4) is defined as including no more than six residents, more residents will make this a use in its own right (a sui generis use). This will need planning permission if it is materially different.
Landlords of a HMO with up to six residents need to be aware (now they are no longer defined as a dwellinghouse) that they lose permitted development rights of a dwellinghouse as well.
If you need any help understanding how these changes may affect you, please call the Planning Help Line (0114) 273 4215.
The department of Communities and Local Government have produced a circular on HMO's.