We have previously reported that the Government was planning to amend the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 to create a separate planning class for HMOs. The changes will come into force on 6 April 2010. The changes will only apply to England as Wales has its own devolved powers to deal with these matters.
The statutory instrument to carry out this change has just been published on the OPSI website as the The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) (Amendment) (England) Order 2010.
The new planning classes will be as follows:
Class C3 has been amended to cover single households of up to six occupiers.
A new class C4 has been created which will cover HMOs of up to six people.
Properties with more than six occupiers will continue to be outside any planning category.
These changes will bring the definition of HMO for the purposes of planning in line with those used in the Housing Act 2004. The upshot of this issue is that any property which is an HMO (irrespective of whether it requires a licence) will now need to have a separate planning approval. The government has previously stated that they do not consider that this applies to tenancies which are currently in place as at 6 April but will presumably an application will need to be made on renewal. However, it is not clear how local authorities will view this area.
This will undoubtedly cause a massive increase in the number of planning applications and therefore the number of appeals. This will therefore mean yet another increase in cost to landlords and the amount of paperwork. Inevitably, many landlords will simply decline to let to sharers to avoid the hassle.