We have been informed that Manchester City Council has made an Article 4 direction in relation to HMO properties. This direction will come into force on 8 October 2011. More details can be found here.
This means that from the date the direction comes into force (8 October 2011) the amendments introduced in October (which we wrote about here) will no longer apply and landlords may need to seek planning permission to let their properties as an HMO.
Full details of the new planning categories and their effects can be found in this post.
However, there is some doubt as to whether the making of the direction actually matters. Even if an article 4 direction is made that does not mean that use as an HMO requires planning permission. This is because, contrary to popular belief, movement between planning classes does not require planning permission. What does require planing permission is a material change in use and it is by no means clear that a change of use to an HMO represents such a change. We have written more about this issue in this post.
At this stage any Manchester landlord who either is now or is considering renting a property in such a way that it will fall into the C4 planning category should consider applying for a certificate of lawful use as it will be hard for the Council to refuse it.
After October next year any Manchester landlord who is starting to use a property as an HMO or who proposes to do so will need to consider whether they should seek planning consent. If consent is sought and refused for the three months after the making of the direction (ie before 8 January 2012) the landlord may be able to seek compensation from the Council.
Naturally, if such consent is refused the landlord may also wish to appeal the decision of the Council.