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Council clamps down on small HMOs

New rules introduced by a council in south east England will prevent smaller homes from being converted into Houses of Multiple Occupation in three wards.

The rules mean that proposals to convert houses into HMOs will need to go through Arun council’s normal planning process, rather than being allowed under ‘permitted development’.

This will prevent buildings in parts of Bognor Regis and Littlehampton from being turned into small HMOs. 


The new rules, called Article 4 directions, are a planning tool that can be used in a local area to remove ‘permitted development rights’ for certain types of development, so that planning permission must be obtained before development can take place. They are used to place restrictions on residential property conversions in areas which already have high levels of HMOs.

A council spokesman says: “This is great news for Arun. These changes will allow the council to protect the quality of our natural and built environment as a planning application will now need to be made before converting a house into an HMO for up to six people. This will allow us to better manage the creation of HMOs and their impact on the wellbeing of the community in these three wards.

“We understand the need for development, but as we say in our council vision, it’s about delivering the right homes in the right places.”

‘Small’ HMOs of up to six people are called C4 use class. The Article 4 direction means that any proposed development or conversion of property in the three wards named to make a C4 HMO must now be subject to making a planning application for the council to determine.

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  • icon

    Overheard in a Council "planning" meeting:

    How can we fix the shortage of rental properties?

    How about banning 3 unrelated adults from sharing a 3 bedroom house?

    That means we'll need 3 houses to house 6 people where previously 2 houses would do.

    That's sounds good. It's a 50% increase in um........anyone got a calculator?

  • icon

    Great news for landlords who already operate HMOs in those areas. Within a year of Article 4 commencing those houses will be worth significantly more than neighbouring properties that don't have the right to be rented by 3 or more unrelated tenants.

    Really bad news for prospective future tenants and existing owner occupiers. Suddenly houses without full letting rights become much, much harder to sell.

  • icon

    All my houses are licensed some 1,2,3, & 4 times didn’t see at any advantage just a lot of costs


    The main advantage will be when you sell but you should also get higher rents currently.


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