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HMOs to require planning consent across parts of busy city

A consultation has been launched on changes to planning policy for HMOs in Exeter.

The city council has a restriction in place that affects the ability to convert regular houses into a HMOs, which are houses occupied by three or more unrelated people. The restriction - the Article 4 Direction - is currently around the university’s main campus and the city centre, which are popular locations for student accommodation.

Now the council is consulting on extending the area where the restrictions on HMOs apply.

A spokesperson for the authority says: “Exeter has many HMOS and they are a great housing option for lots of people, including students. But as the city and the University grow we want to ensure that communities remain balanced, which is where the Article 4 area comes in.

“Exeter has had an Article 4 area for HMOs for some time, but by extending the area, it means more property owners will be required to seek planning permission to convert a property into a HMO. The options that you’ll see in the consultation proposals have been informed by extensive research and discussions with local councillors, HMO landlords and letting agents, the University of Exeter, student and resident representatives. And we would also like your comments on how we should approach this.”

The council’s planning department is hosting in-person information sessions to answer landlords’ questions and give residents an opportunity to view the proposals and provide feedback.

The sessions take place on: Wednesday June 7 (1pm-7pm: Exeter Guildhall, High Street); and Tuesday June 13 (1.30pm-7pm: Newtown Community Centre, Belmont Park); and on Tuesday June 20 (1pm-7pm: St James Church Hall, Mount Pleasant Road).

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