New planning rules for HMO’s

Much discussed at our LAT meetings, and commented upon HERE and HERE on this site, from Friday, 5 April 2013, new rules about small student lets and houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), will come into force in five electoral wards within Brighton and Hove. The areas of the city to be covered by the controls are those most affected by large concentrations of student lets and HMOs.  These are:

  • Hanover and Elm Grove
  • Hollingdean and Stanmer
  • Moulsecoomb and Bevendean
  • Queen’s Park
  • St Peters and North Laine

The council has introduced a control, known as an article 4 direction, to help improve the management and quality of student accommodation and prevent over-concentration of HMOs in established residential areas. The direction means that a planning application will be required to change the use of a house (defined as C3 use in planning legislation) to a small house in multiple occupation (C4 use class).  Small HMOs are defined as properties lived in by between three and six people where facilities such as a kitchen or bathroom are shared.

The article 4 direction removes existing rights to change the use of a family house into a small HMO without seeking planning permission. The change will not affect existing HMOs.

The measure takes into account recommendations in the Student Housing Strategy made in partnership by the council, the city’s Universities, letting agents and private sector landlords.

Brighton & Hove City Council’s City Plan includes a policy that sets out how planning applications for new student lets and HMOs will be applied.  Changes of use will not be allowed where more than 10 per cent of dwellings, within a 50m radius of the application site, are already in HMO use.

The map below shows HMO and shared housing density in our ward – a larger version and further information can be found HERE on the council website.

HMO densityHanover & Elm Grove ward councillor Liz Wakefield, Chair of Brighton & Hove City Council’s Housing Committee, says: “Our universities and student population are important elements of the city’s demographic and we need to ensure landlords are providing them with suitable accommodation.  The new rules will help us to monitor HMOs and provide a balance of sustainable and inclusive communities across Brighton & Hove.”


One thought on “New planning rules for HMO’s

  1. I’ve been sharing a house in Hanover for 8 years. 3 of us share, as it’s the only way we can afford to live here, we are clean, quiet, know our neighbours and are part of the community. But now my landlord is selling up because of the hassle of the new rules. And furthermore, looking for a new house for us, agents are saying a max of 2 sharers (even for 3/4 bed houses) These rules are meant to help, I know, but for the many households like mine it’s a death sentence for our way of life, and totally unfair.


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