New HMO planning controls have been implemented in Barnet

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016 -

New planning controls that restrict the number of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) have been implemented in the London Borough of Barnet.

Until recently, Barnet landlords only needed planning permission to change a single-family property into a house in multiple occupation (HMO) occupied by more than six people who are not all related and share facilities.

This all changed on 29 May 2016 when Barnet Council implemented a borough wide HMO Article 4 Direction to restrict new house and flat shares and bedsits.

The new planning restrictions were confirmed at the Barnet Council’s Planning Committee on 23 May 2016. A spokesperson for Barnet Council has confirmed to London Property Licensing that the report was approved.

In future, planning permission will be required to convert a single family house (use class C3) to an HMO occupied by three or more people.

This could make the search for accommodation more difficult if landlords and letting agents turn away groups seeking house-shares and single people seeking a single room, because the property does not have the necessary planning consent.

Public Consultation Exercise

On 18 May 2015, Barnet Council’s Planning Committee approved a non-immediate Article 4 Direction to remove the permitted development rights to change a dwelling from a single-family property (use class C3) to a small HMO with up to six residents (use class C4).

The Direction was made on 28 May 2015 and the Council consulted on the new HMO planning controls from 28 May to 30 August 2015. Promotional activity included contacting 3,600 landlords, 2,500+ businesses and 200+ letting agents, press releases and an advert in the local press. We also published the story on 29 July 2015 (here).

According to Barnet Council, 13 responses were received from landlords, residents, local societies and landlord associations. Having considered all the issues which are summarised in the Planning Committee report, councillors confirmed the HMO Article 4 Direction and it is now in force.

Barnet additional licensing scheme coming soon

In addition to the HMO planning controls, a new additional HMO licensing scheme starts in Barnet on 5 July 2016. The licensing scheme will apply borough wide and will extend licensing to most HMOs that are two or more storeys high and occupied by four or more people who are not all related and share facilties.

The rules are quite complicated and we would encourage landlords and letting agents to study the arrangements carefully, or seek advice.

Further information about property licensing and HMO planning controls in Barnet can be found at

More information is also available on the Council’s website.