Planning permission for houses in multiple occupation

We made an Article 4 direction involving Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in 2011. 

A statutory objection period ran from 9 December 2010 to 7 January 2011. The Article 4 Direction was confirmed and came into force on 10 December 2011. 

This means that within the Article 4 area, you now need to apply for planning permission to convert a dwellinghouse (Use class C3) into an HMO for 3 to 6 unrelated people (Use class C4).

Outside this area, you don’t need to apply for planning permission to convert a dwellinghouse into a 3 to 6 person HMO. Planning permission is normally required in any part of the city for HMOs shared by 7 or more persons or conversions to any sized HMO from any other use class.

Even if you do not need planning permission you may still need to obtain an HMO licence for properties occupied by 5 or more people. There are other management controls in place for smaller dwellings.

Determining your application

When we assess a planning application to convert a dwellinghouse into an HMO, the key policy we will use is our Core Strategy Policy CS41.

This policy restricts conversions to HMOs where 20% or more of dwellings within 200m of the property are already HMOs. Properties below this 20% limit are likely to receive planning permission whereas properties that are already at or over the 20% limit are likely to have permission refused.

To help you decide whether conversion of a property will conform to this policy, the attachment below shows the existing HMO densities of all residential properties within the Article 4 area.

If the property is already an HMO

If the property has been in use as an HMO since 10 December 2011 (or has since had HMO planning permission granted and been used as an HMO), then you will not need to apply for planning permission to change it into an HMO. 

We strongly recommend you retain tenancy agreements that show that 3 or more unrelated persons have lived in the property since 10 December 2011 (or that you get copies from the vendor, if you are purchasing an HMO). 

You will need to produce sufficient evidence that the property is already an HMO in the event of any future planning enforcement investigations or if you decide to apply for a lawful development certificate.

If a property was previously an HMO but has since been used as a dwellinghouse (eg by a family or fewer than 3 unrelated people), then it will no longer be classed as an HMO and you will need to apply for planning permission to change it back into an HMO.

Contact Planning Enquiries

0114 203 9183
Monday to Friday
9am to 4pm
Howden House
1 Union Street
S1 2SH

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