Bexley Council are consulting on new HMO planning restrictions

Monday, October 17th, 2016 - Bexley Council

New planning restrictions for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) look set to be introduced in the London Borough of Bexley in September 2017.

The council has launched a consultation on proposals to remove permitted development rights on the conversion of single family homes into HMOs with between 3 and 6 residents. HMOs with 7 or more occupants already require planning permission.

The council say that the proposed HMO Article 4 Direction is part of their co-ordinated approach to managing HMOs. The council say they will also soon be consulting on plans for a new property licensing scheme.

The decision to introduce the Direction relates to growing concerns about an increasing number of houses in the borough being converted to HMOs.

At the moment certain works and alterations to unlisted buildings can be carried out without applying for planning permission. Development of this kind is called ‘Permitted Development’. These works include the kind that could be made to a dwelling to turn it into a small HMO with up to 6 occupants.

An Article 4 Direction will mean the removal of this ‘Permitted Development’ right, making it easier for the Council to monitor the number of HMOs and the authority to grant or refuse permission for HMOs in the future.

A non-immediate HMO Article 4 Direction was made by the council on 16 September and they are now undertaking a public consultation exercise from 23 September to 4 November 2016. The Council will then reflect on the feedback before deciding whether to confirm the Direction.

Anyone can take part in the consultation by visiting the Council’s website.

Alternatively you can email your views to SP& or write to the London Borough of Bexley, Strategic Planning & Growth Team, Civic Offices, 2 Watling Street, Bexleyheath, DA6 7AT. Any correspondence concerning the Article 4 consultation must be received by 5pm on 4 November 2016.

Subject to confirmation by the Council, we understand the Direction could come in to force on 24 September 2017.

Leader of the London Borough of Bexley, Cllr Teresa O’Neill OBE said:

The introduction of an Article 4 Direction isn’t something that we are considering lightly. Many other local authorities have already taken this route in their boroughs to make sure smaller HMOs meet set requirements and our reason for doing so is to protect tenants, landlords and the local community.

We know that the majority of HMOs are legal, well run and above board, but there are some that may put health and safety at risk or may be in a totally unsuitable area without the necessary infrastructure. If introduced, the Direction will help us to control and monitor new HMOs, refusing permission where appropriate.

A copy of the Article 4 Direction and a map can be viewed during normal office hours at the Civic Offices, 2 Watling Street, Bexleyheath, DA6 7AT, at Bexley libraries, or by visiting the Council’s website.

London Property Licensing has published further information about HMO Article 4 Directions that can be viewed here. Information about property licensing and HMO planning restrictions in Bexley is also available at