UK: Landlords will need planning permission to convert homes into HMOs

generation rentLandlords in a London borough will now need to apply for planning permission before renting out their homes to multiple people following a landmark change of planning rules for new Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs).

The new rule comes in as part of the Royal Borough of Greenwich’s aim to crack down on poor quality and unsafe homes for tenants in the borough and drive up rental standards.

The change, an Article 4 Direction, removes the permitted development rights for properties to be used as small HMOs with no more than six people.

It means landlords will have to apply for planning permission if they want to convert their homes into HMO’s to rent out on the market.

Approving the change last month, the council will now undertake a consultation with stakeholders across the Borough before the change becomes law in 12 months’ time.

The move follows a decision by councillors in April to extend licensing to all HMOs in the borough which comes into force on 1 October.

Councillor Danny Thorpe, deputy leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich and cabinet member for regeneration and sustainability, said: “The council is committed to providing safe and secure accommodation for everyone in the borough. This latest decision will help us drive up standards, and drive out rogue landlords.”

Councillor Jackie Smith, cabinet member for community safety and environment, added: “The Royal Borough has taken a number of measures over recent years to tackle the problem of sub-standard and often unsafe accommodation, and this latest move strengthens our hand even more.

“Over-crowded and poorly maintained HMOs are not just devastating for the families that have to live there, it leads to other problems such as overflowing bins and fly-tipping.”