Hounslow Council announce more stringent HMO planning restrictions
Proposals for new HMO planning restrictions have been announced by the London Borough of Hounslow.
On 6 July 2022, Hounslow Council made a non-immediate HMO Article 4 Direction that applies throughout most of the borough. The only excluded areas are open land, industrial areas, Chiswick Business Park, Bedford Lakes Business Park and the Mogden sewage works.
Subject to confirmation, the Direction is due to come into force in Summer 2023. The Direction lists the start date as 15 June 2023, although that is less than 12 months, so it may be later.
Under normal planning rules, landlords can convert a family home into a small HMO with up to six occupants without needing planning permission. All HMOs with seven or more occupants need planning permission for change of use.
If the Article 4 Direction is confirmed, these permitted development rights would be removed meaning all new HMOs in the designated area would require planning consent.
Hounslow Council already has one HMO Article 4 Direction, although it is restricted to the Hanworth ward. Those restrictions came into force on 12 January 2018.
HMO Article 4 Directions can reduce flexibility in the housing market by creating additional barriers that prevent landlords swapping between single family lets and shared accommodation according to the needs of the market. Once an HMO Article 4 Direction is in force, letting shared accommodation to three or more people will need planning permission if there is a material change of use.
The change is not retrospective and will not impact on HMOs with up to 6 people created before an Article 4 Direction comes into force.
Consultation underway for eight weeks
Hounslow Council is consulting on the non-immediate HMO Article 4 Direction from Friday 15 July to Friday 9 September 2022. Responses can be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to:
7 Bath Road
Hounslow TW3 3EB
Commenting on the announcement, Councillor Tom Bruce, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Development, Hounslow Council, said:
“I would like to stress that for many residents in our borough HMOs is an affordable housing option, which is low-cost and flexible.
“However, is it clear that many HMOs are having detrimental impact on the local community and this new measure will ensure thorough oversight – protecting both the tenants in HMOs and the communities that surround them.
“Every resident in the borough deserves to live in a safe and pleasant community and this new measure will contribute to making this a reality for countless residents.“
Our free guide containing more information about property licensing and HMO planning restrictions in the London Borough of Hounslow is available here.
Information about the HMO Article 4 Directions is also available on the council’s website.
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