Gaining permission for HMOs is a complex process made even more difficult when operating within a University City that has invoked Article 4 – making the conversion of normal homes into HMOs near on impossible.
However, with over a decade of experience, qualified and dedicated staff, we take all the stress and guesswork out of this situation. We have a reputation of making things happen when others can’t and have a near 100% success rate when it comes to appealing against Local Authority refusals.
Whether you want to:
We can help you through the hoops and over the hurdles with our experienced team – get in touch now to help you on your way to better properties, better rents and better value.
Getting the properties through planning from start to finish and getting the change of use from C3 to C4 and Sui Gen liaising with the local authority to maintain legal Requirements
The planning process involved in HMOs can sometimes be a long drawn out process with many hurdles to get over, depending on the type of development you’re going for, and it can also vary depending on the Local Authority you are dealing with. For some people this can be off-putting – we have seen many new landlords attempt this road and pull a u-turn when the going gets tough. They will then insist that HMOs are not worth the hassle… which is certainly not the case!
At Concept & Develop Ltd we get it, particularly with Sui Generis properties the task can seem daunting from the building works to the planning process to find the occupants, but that is where we come in! With the wealth of experience in this sector we can get you from A to B with ease but to start your journey in HMOs firstly you need to understand the planning process…
When it comes to smaller HMOs the process can be a lot simpler on the whole. In some locations in the UK planning permission isn’t even required with some properties benefitting from being able to swap between C3 and C4. However, if the town you choose has Article 4 in force you may have difficulties.
Article 4 is generally in place in areas where HMOs are in abundance such as Portsmouth. In Portsmouth, which is a University City, areas such as Southsea have a very high percentage of C4 properties. In these areas – if the percentage exceeds 10% within a 50-metre radius of a selected property – you will NOT gain permission for HMO use. So for any current C3 property in an area over 10% you can rule out permission… doesn’t sound great… BUT any current C4 (small HMOs) in these areas CAN become Sui Generis (large HMOs)! Great opportunity!
This situation, of course, will affect mainly Student Landlords but when it comes to the growing Professional market there are PLENTY of areas up for grabs! They need just find a suitable area – a location within in distance of a hospital for instance or training location – check the Local Authority HMO data list online and if it’s under 10% there is no reason why C4 usage cannot be applied for and approved.
When it comes to Sui Generis projects however, this is where it can get a bit trickier…
So currently – going by planning case law – C4 properties still have Permitted Development Rights whereas Sui Generis properties DO NOT. What this means is if you currently are a landlord of, let’s say, a 4 bedroom HMO with C4 usage (or looking to purchase one) it’s highly likely that to produce a property suitable for 7 or more people (Sui Generis) you will need to extend. In most cases, this would be with a single-story extension and/or a loft conversion with dormer – all of which can be done under PD rights.
So, you may ask, does that mean I have to apply for the works AND the Sui Generis usage? Well… you could, giving the Local Authority more reasons to refuse the application, but there is an alternative.
A C4 property could design and build the works necessary for a Large HMO under their PD rights and THEN apply for planning permission. This would mean the application is purely for a Change of Use from C4 to Sui Generis. Why does this matter? Well, HMOs are not loved by planning officers all over – despite the need for them – but it has been proved in Planning Case Law that Inspectors do not believe a switch from C4 to Sui Generis is detrimental. If you allow Planning Officers the chance to turn down extensions or loft conversions to increase the number of occupants, however… this could end your application swiftly costing time and money.
Therefore the best, proven successful route for going from C4 to Sui Generis is the above but only If your property meets the following requirements:
So, if you follow the route and rules above you have an extremely high probability of gaining permission. As close to a guarantee as humanly possible – although no planning approval is ever 100% guaranteed anywhere for anything.
Of course, there is a lot more work involved and a few more tricks but that is exactly where Concept & Develop can help you. We can get you from A to B. We have the experience union sourcing properties… in design… in planning procedures… in licensing… in Building Regulations… in furnishing… in lettings and in managing. This is what we do day today and we can make the process of investing in property to gain a passive income easier and more enjoyable.