Bexley Council introduce new HMO planning restrictions
New House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) planning restrictions have recently been introduced by Bexley Council.
On 24 September 2017, Bexley Council implemented a borough wide HMO Article 4 Direction that removes permitted development rights for change of use from a dwelling house to a small HMO with 3 to 6 occupants.
This is the first HMO Article 4 Direction to be introduced in South Easton London, although Greenwich Council are considering similar changes that may come into force in 2018 (read here).
According to the council, the introduction of the Direction will make it easier for them to monitor the number of HMOs and to grant or refuse permission on a case by case basis. However, the changes are not retrospective and will not impact on existing C4 HMOs with continuous use.
Leader of the London Borough of Bexley, Cllr Teresa O’Neill OBE said:
“The results of our public consultation made it clear to us that we needed to officially confirm the Article 4 Direction.
“We have no doubt that the majority of landlords ensure that their dwellings meet all the required planning regulations, so that their tenants are safe and that they are in an area with the necessary services. However, there are a small minority that made the most of the previous system and were found to overcrowd their properties or to develop them in an area without the necessary infrastructure.
“By introducing this Direction we will be able to protect residents in HMOs, our landlords and the local community.“
Consultation on the introduction of an Article 4 Direction took place last year in response to growing issues around small HMOs in the borough. As part of the process, the Council formally made a non-immediate Article 4 Direction in September 2016.
Research by London Property Licensing has found that almost a third of London Boroughs have introduced HMO Article 4 Directions which can reduce flexibility in the rental sector by restricting new room lets and shared-house lettings.
More information about HMO Article 4 Directions is available here.
Further information about property licensing and HMO planning restrictions in Bexley can be found at www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk/bexley.
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