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Article 4 Explained C3 to C4 HMO Planning Permission

5th Aug 2021

Category: Property advice

Tagged:Article 4, Planning, AskTheExpert, HMOs

Investing in HMOs in Nottingham requires you to know all about Licensing AND Planning issues. Make sure you are clued up on the difference between the two and the things you will need to be aware of!

Comfort Opinion

When buying a HMO or converting a house into a HMO, remember that it is Planning that you must consider first, then followed by the Licensing requirements. Read our in depth HMO definition blog to be certain, click the below link.


Definition of a HMO (House in Multiple Occupation)

One of our most common Nottingham property investor questions regards Article 4.

An Article 4 Direction is commonly misunderstood to ONLY apply to HMOs. This is not true- Article 4 restricts permitted development rights for any property within certain areas defined by the local Council. For example, here at Comfort Lettings we undertook a development where an Article 4 direction restricted any change to the front of the property's exterior because it overlooked a park that was of interest to the Council.

However, most commonly for investors you will have heard about Article 4 in relation to the ability to convert a C3 (residential home to a C4 (HMO). This has happened largely in student-dense areas where the local authority is concerned with the studentification of the local area.

If you are looking to create a HMO when buying a property, you must ensure you have the planning permission to do that. The cost of this application is free, however where there is an Article 4 direction in place this is a strong sign that the council will be against creating new HMOs in the area.

REMEMBER: Licensing and planning are entirely separate! Just because you are able to obtain a mandatory or additional licence for a property does not mean you will be able to obtain planning permission. Planning is undoubtedly the bigger obstacle for areas with an Article 4 restriction. If in doubt, when you buy a property ensure your solicitor does the appropriate research and obtains a certificate of lawful use. They must ensure that the property has continually been used as a HMO and not reverted back to C3 use class.

Phil Ashford

Partner MEng(Hons) ACA MARLA

An experienced Chartered Accountant and a Founding Partner of Comfort Lettings.

Connect with me on Linkedin

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