Southwark Council introduces an immediate HMO Article 4 Direction

Monday, November 14th, 2016 -

Enquiries by London Property London have revealed new House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) planning restrictions recently introduced in the London Borough of Southwark.

On 27 October 2016, Southwark Council removed permitted development rights by introducing an immediate HMO Article 4 Direction covering Bywater Place in Surrey Quays SE16. As a result, planning permission is now required to convert any property into a HMO within that area.

An earlier HMO Article Direction covering Henshaw Street in Walworth SE17 came into force in 2014.

According to a report presented to the council’s Planning Committee on 11 October, local residents had reported increasing problems caused by family homes being converted to HMOs on the estate.

The modern 1980s estate contains a mix of 90 houses and flats or which the council say 14 (15.6%) are known to be HMOs, with another 27 private rented properties which might be HMOs. The council noted that a number of the properties are now managed by a particular company that provide flexible HMO tenancies aimed at young professionals who typically work in Canary Wharf and the City of London.

Problems highlighted in the council report include an increase in pedestrian and vehicular traffic, an increase in noise and more household waste.

Unlike non-immediate HMO Article 4 Directions that give 12 months notice prior to removal of permitted development rights, an immediate direction can be made if the council believes the development presents an immediate threat to local amenity or prejudices the proper planning of an area.

Southwark Council say they will consult on the Article 4 Direction for 21 days and must then confirm the Direction within 6 months.

According to the council, there may be circumstances where they are liable to compensate developers or landowners whose developments are affected by the immediate Article 4 Direction. They mention situations where landowners would have otherwise been able to develop under the permitted development rights, if the council refuse planning permission or grant planning permission with more limiting conditions as a result of the Article 4 direction being in place.

Further information about property licensing and HMO planning restrictions in Southwark can be found at