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  • HMO & Multi-Lets

    HMO - self contained units. Planning permission required?

    Afternoon all,

    I hope you can help. My current project is a dwelling purchased for conversion to a 6 person HMO.

    I am looking at converting the property into six self contained units - i.e. they will each have an en suite and kitchenette. There will be communal laundry facilities but no communal kitchen or living area.

    I am currently getting planning permission for a side extension to provide the additional floor space that is needed. The application has been submitted on the basis of a single family dwelling. Once I have consent I will then decide whether I will be undertaking the HMO conversion above or simply selling the property on.

    I am aware that the planning definition of an HMO for the purposes of C4 under the Use Classes Order is now the same as the definition of an HMO under the Housing Act 2004. Am I therefore correct in saying that this definition permits self contained units provided the they are not converted to provide self contained flats under full building regulations?

    Thanks in advance for your help. Smile

    P.S - I'm fully aware of the Council Tax implications of this proposal.

    P.P.S - only 2 storeys so no licence needed and no Article 4 Direction present.
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    All comments are for casual information purposes only. If you wish to rely on any advice I have given please ensure you obtain independent specialist advice from a third party. No liability is accepted for comments made.

    How many storeys? (i.e. C4 or Sui Generis?).

    Are you in an article 4 area?

    I might leave answering this to someone else as it sounds the sort of thing I get wrong, but I think anyone answering needs to know the above.
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    Sorry - didn't mention this. The proposal will not need a license. It is only 2 storeys and no Article 4 Direction applies.
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    All comments are for casual information purposes only. If you wish to rely on any advice I have given please ensure you obtain independent specialist advice from a third party. No liability is accepted for comments made.

    This isn't an area I am experienced in, and I suspect that you feel like myself (or you wouldn't be asking), that there ought to be some catch & it shouldn't be allowed ......

    I can't see why not. You are applying for an extension for an existing C3 use. If granted you continue with C3 use. You are entitled to flip between C3 & C4 use (and back) without PP.

    Looks fine to me!
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    Hi Nick, thanks for your replies. I want to be sure I am looking at the definitions correctly and not making a mistake or missing something.
    If anyone else can elaborate further this would be of much help.

    David Smith - I wondered if you might have some comments on this? Thanks in advance!
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    All comments are for casual information purposes only. If you wish to rely on any advice I have given please ensure you obtain independent specialist advice from a third party. No liability is accepted for comments made.

    Ben,

    From my understanding this is a very grey area regarding HMO, self-contained units and planning permission.

    From a HMO space and amenity standard each self-contained unit (kitchen, living and sleeping space) should be 13m2 for a single person or 15m2 for a couple as well as a separate washing area including WC, basin and shower or bath.
    Although HMO amenity standards can be achieved a lot more is required by planning, from my understanding a minimum floor space of 30m2 will be required for planning permission to be granted for a self-contained unit, plus additional sound proofing between units will be required.

    This is a huge difference in terms of space and obviously reduces the number of self- contained units that can be created from a single dwelling.
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    Rooms In Cardiff info@RoomsInCardiff.co.uk Guaranteed Rent | Professional House Share | Student Property | LHA & UC HMO & Multi Let Management Cardiff & South Wales

    Rent Smart Wales Agent Licence Number: LR-37010-29907

    The Property Ombudsman: E1405

    (27-10-2014 05:47 PM)CardiffHMOLandlord Wrote:  From my understanding this is a very grey area regarding HMO, self-contained units and planning permission.

    The Law is never grey. It may swap from Black to White overnight, and back again the following morning, or you may not be able to predict what the judge may think, but it's never grey.

    (27-10-2014 05:47 PM)CardiffHMOLandlord Wrote:  From a HMO space and amenity standard each self-contained unit (kitchen, living and sleeping space) should be 13m2 for a single person or 15m2 for a couple as well as a separate washing area including WC, basin and shower or bath.
    Although HMO amenity standards can be achieved a lot more is required by planning, from my understanding a minimum floor space of 30m2 will be required for planning permission to be granted for a self-contained unit, plus additional sound proofing between units will be required.

    Where are you getting those numbers from? I've recently built many flats to 10.2 sq.m. single & 20 sq. m. for 2.

    30 sq m is a favourite of Boris, but I'm not sure where it is enforced.
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    Thank you for your thoughts. 13m2 per self contained unit is easily achievable and it should be possible to have six of those, all self contained.

    My query relates to the technical definition of HMO for planning consent and whether this can be satisfied by ensuring the units are converted to the definition of an HMO in the Housing Act. This seems to be possible - the two definitions are the same, BUT provided the property is not converted to full spec for self contained flats in terms of building regulations. If this is the case you go from C4 to 6 x C3 dwellings. I think the floor area you quote of 30 sq m applies to new C3 units.

    I looking to get this accurately worked out - I think this will be v useful to establish.

    Any further thoughts?
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    All comments are for casual information purposes only. If you wish to rely on any advice I have given please ensure you obtain independent specialist advice from a third party. No liability is accepted for comments made.

    Seems grey when one area says fine it's a hmo then other areas say no...at a friend's in Oldham last week acceptable each self contained unit 100 sq feet including ensuite no need for communal space provide small kitchen aimed at over 35s lha seemed small to me just buying 15 bed licenced hmo plus 4 large basement former owners flat applying for plus 4 ensuite self contained units Will find out then what dooable in our area . An example of grey just got a 3 storey with 5th bedroom less than 10 x 7 feet licenced fine no communal kitchen small with a little communal space ??
    Kim Stones
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    @Nick P,

    I have just been considering converting a large Victorian dwelling into 6 self-contained units over 2 stories, a similar scenario to Ben.

    All units would be 13 sqm or more, but upon consulting a local and experienced architect he has told me that the council would not grant planning permission as each self-contained unit would need to be a minimum of 30 sqm as well as having to meet stringent sound proofing standards, which would result 2 or 3 units and not six.

    So from what you are saying Nick, I should sack the architect and go ahead with the planned 6 self-contained units?

    I know people are getting around this planning requirement by providing a communal kitchen and then providing each unit with a removal able worktop mounted oven/gr ill and double hob.

    Like to hear how you go about gaining planning permission for a unit of only 10 sqm when HMO space and amenity standards in my local authority require a minimum of 13 sqm.
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    Rooms In Cardiff info@RoomsInCardiff.co.uk Guaranteed Rent | Professional House Share | Student Property | LHA & UC HMO & Multi Let Management Cardiff & South Wales

    Rent Smart Wales Agent Licence Number: LR-37010-29907

    The Property Ombudsman: E1405

    (27-10-2014 09:04 PM)CardiffHMOLandlord Wrote:  @Nick P,

    I have just been considering converting a large Victorian dwelling into 6 self-contained units over 2 stories, a similar scenario to Ben.

    All units would be 13 sqm or more, but upon consulting a local and experienced architect he has told me that the council would not grant planning permission as each self-contained unit would need to be a minimum of 30 sqm as well as having to meet stringent sound proofing standards, which would result 2 or 3 units and not six.

    So from what you are saying Nick, I should sack the architect and go ahead with the planned 6 self-contained units?

    I know people are getting around this planning requirement by providing a communal kitchen and then providing each unit with a removal able worktop mounted oven/gr ill and double hob.

    Like to hear how you go about gaining planning permission for a unit of only 10 sqm when HMO space and amenity standards in my local authority require a minimum of 13 sqm.

    Apologies - I never saw this post at the time.

    Yes I would sack your Architect, but I would get another or Planning Consultant with experience in this area. The fact is that if you are converting the house to a S257 HMO the regulations that you follow are the 2004 Housing Act (that takes the 1985 Housing Act for it's space standards). I'm not an expert on Building Regs or Planning Rules, but I am so bullish over this because over the last 5 years I have done several projects resulting in 7 new flats and 15 converted flats all to these standards.

    I'm now going to contradict the post I have just made (!). I agree that the Cardiff link you provide gives 13 sq m. I don't have time to research whether it is truly different, and there is always the possibility that the Welsh Parliament has imposed different regulations. The shouldn't make any difference to what you do.

    I know that there is a degree of flexibility, because on one of my schemes the EHO accepted a flat which was slightly undersize on the basis that there was no choice, and the other flats were oversized.

    Having said all that - your market (Cardiff) is different to my experiences in C.London, I have property in Cardiff too & I know that you may be better off providing larger flats.

    (28-10-2014 10:52 AM)CardiffHMOLandlord Wrote:  I don’t know if I am being overly pessimistic, but if the council comes along and wants to adopt mandatory HMO licensing in the area then a further spanner will be thrown into the works.

    I don’t know if I am being overly pedantic but the council can't influence Mandatory Licencing - 3 storeys, 5+ people.

    They can introduce Article 4 requiring PP for conversion from C3 to C4 ("Studentification")

    and

    They can introduce "Additional Licensing".

    In both cases they have to go through a procedure that demonstrates that there is a problem that needs addressing through licensing.
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