Yesterday Grant Shapps announced that he would make amendments to the system of planning for HMOs.
It is not proposed to amend or scrap the new C4 planning class. Instead what is being proposed is an amendment to the General Permitted Development Order which will allow movement from the C3 planning class to the C4 planning class without a planning application being made.
However, local authorities will be able to use Article 4 of the The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 to override this blanket consent in areas where they consider that there are excessive numbers of HMOs and that control over them is required.
While this will cause relief for many landlords by removing the need to obtain planning permission in many areas it will also make things more complex as individual planning authorities can elect to enforce planning requirements for HMOs or not at their discretion. Therefore while it will reduce the burden for many landlords it will also provide a further trap for the unwary as there will not be a consistent policy across the country.
It should be noted that the changes are not yet in force and will not appear until at least 1 October 2010. Therefore the requirement to obtain planning consent still applies at the current time. It should also be noted that this only relates to England and that there is no requirement for HMOs in Wales to have planning consent at this time.
PainSmith Solicitors are running a seminar on HMOs and planning consent on 22 June and will provide more guidance on this issue at that stage. More information on our seminar programme along with booking forms can be found on our website at www.painsmith.co.uk/Seminars.