On Thursday 6th June, Birmingham City Council published a proposal to remove permitted development rights for change of use of dwelling houses to small houses in multiple occupation (HMO) that can accommodate up to six people, for the whole of the city. This means a planning application will be required for proposals to convert family houses (C3 use class) to small HMO accommodating between 3 and 6 people (C4 use class).
The Council has commenced a 6-week period to publicise the city-wide direction. The public consultation will run for six weeks, ending Thursday 18th July 2019.
An existing Article 4 Direction has covered parts of the Selly Oak, Harborne and Edgbaston wards since 2014 and to avoid duplication in coverage, this existing direction will be cancelled, but to ensure that there is no gap in coverage the cancellation will happen on the same day that the new city-wide direction will come in to force.
The consultation can be viewed here
The proposed new policy aims to prevent an over-concentration of HMO and to maintain mixed, balanced and sustainable neighbourhoods. The Council considers an over-concentration of HMO to be where such uses constitute more than 10% of residential properties within 100 metres of an application site. Criteria would also prevent the sandwiching of dwelling houses by HMO and other non-family housing, and prevent a continuous frontage of three or more non-family houses.
Once representations received in response to the consultation exercise have been considered by the Council’s Cabinet, a 12 month ‘grace’ period would be introduced before the city-wide Article 4 Direction is enforced. This would ensure developers of new small HMO are aware of the removal of the permitted development rights before starting any conversions. The Council is asking landlords of existing small HMO to declare this to them and to provide details of the address of the property and any evidence to show that it is an existing HMO.
If you have a small HMO in Birmingham and would like us to advise you further, including applying for a Lawful Development Certificate where appropriate, please do contact Gail Collins, Director, on 0121 744 5511.