Housing minister Grant Shapps has laid new regulations that could cut as many as 8,500 planning applications from the system.
Currently landlords have to submit a planning application to rent their properties to unrelated tenants – known as Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO). The new regime will ensure councils only have to use this power where they know high concentrations of shared homes are a problem.
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 C3 classes 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 will mean that any change of use between dwelling houses and small HMOs 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.
The minister said: “Where there are local issues with shared homes, councils will have all the tools they need to deal with the problem – but they will avoid getting bogged down in pointless applications, and landlords won’t be put off renting shared homes where they are needed."
Communities and Local Government chief planner Steve Quartermain wrote to LPA chief planning officers describing the changes.
9 September 2010