HMO planning restrictions confirmed in Merton

Wednesday, May 17th, 2023 - Merton Council

On 17 November 2022, Merton Council made an immediate HMO Article 4 Direction covering the seven council wards on the east side of the borough:

  • Figge’s Marsh
  • Graveney
  • Longthornton
  • Pollards Hill
  • Colliers Wood Cricket Green
  • Lavender Fields

Merton Council consulted on the Article 4 Direction from November 2022 until 22 January 2023 (read here) and received sixteen responses.

According to Opinion Research Services who were commissioned to undertake the consultation exercise, 22% of landlords and agents supported the proposed planning restrictions in seven wards, whilst 63% disagreed. There was more support for the proposal from tenants, residents and others, with 79% support. Support amongst tenants was less pronounced, with 57% in agreement.

Landlords expressed particular concern about the planning restrictions being implemented without prior notice, particularly where property conversions were already underway.

On 19 April 2023, councillors met to discuss the consultation results and decided to confirm the immediate HMO Article 4 Direction. The report acknowledged the council could receive compensation claims if planning applications received within the first 12 months were refused or had conditions added that reduced the development’s value. It also noted the Secretary of State could stop the Article 4 Direction if not satisfied the evidential requirements had been met.

Following the council meeting, the HMO Article 4 Direction was made permanent in the seven affected wards. This means that planning permission is required to convert a single family dwelling (use class C3) into a small HMO occupied by 3 to 6 people (use class C4).

Property Licensing update

Merton Council also consulted on plans to introduce additional and selective licensing schemes. It is understood a further report to confirm the council’s decision will be made at the Cabinet meeting in June 2023.

Our free guide containing more information about property licensing and HMO planning restrictions in the London Borough of Merton is available here.

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