Monday, 27 February 2012


New planning regulations are now in force across the whole of Thanet, meaning that planning permission is needed to convert properties into houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).

The proposals were originally put forward by the council in early 2011, as a year’s notice had to be given before the changes came into effect. The council decided to change planning rules in Thanet, after the government introduced new legislation in late 2010, which meant that homes could have been turned into HMOs for up to six unrelated people without seeking planning permission.

However, the council decided to use a planning power, called an Article 4 Direction, to ensure that anyone who wants to convert their home into an HMO has to submit a planning application. There is no fee for this type of application.

Cllr. Iris Johnston, Cabinet Member for Community Services said: “The council has taken this action, so that we can control the number of HMOs in the area. We already have a large number here and I’ve seen for myself on too many occasions the impact that they’ve had in areas such as Cliftonville and Margate where they haven’t been managed properly. All too often, in these cases, vulnerable people are placed in potentially dangerous accommodation and we want to try and put a stop to that. I think that’s vital to ensure that we don’t see the spread of any further poorly managed HMOs, as they have been a huge blight on the area over many years.”

She added: “This isn’t a blanket ban on HMOs, it’s about making sure such proposals have to go through the planning process. We want to make sure that the council has control on this issue and that we would have to issue planning permission first before any property can be converted. That allows councillors who know the areas they represent to carefully consider the impact that such an application might have on the area.”

Large HMOs, home to more than six people sharing a property, already need planning permission. This change in planning rules does not affect the licensing of HMOs. Landlords owning a house in multiple occupation will still have to apply for a licence from the council’s private sector housing team. More details can be found at


  1. Labour had a bit of a shout and a moan about this because of the delay in its coming to force. Now they are in office could they please let us know how many HMOs were set up during that period? Their big complaint was that loads would be set up because the Article 4 wasnt in place to stop it. Im sure this information cant be too difficult to collect.

  2. Poor lodgers - tidy respectable people... and yes they have a vote too!

    I have had multiple lodgers for years and 98% have been excellent, so why does Thanet & other Councils PERSECUTE innocent lodgers just because of the minority of bad ones.
    Roll on the recession - the homeless will be littering the streets - the council will be to blame for its 'not on my doorstep attitude'

  3. I get particularly annoyed at those people campaign against small one bedroom flats. Not all of us live with other people, nor do we want to!

  4. I find it rather ironic that much of the expansion of Thanet from the late 18th century onwards to meet the needs of the booming holiday trade would been very difficult under the new article 4 directive. Most of the prestigious housing stock was built for use as use as either family dwellings or as lodging houses (these two uses being specifically mentioned in the deeds). Some of the large houses had a resident proprietor (maybe as a business tenant) who would then let various parts of the building to different people for various periods of time over the season - a large house may have had multiple families of lodgers in different parts of the building.

  5. I thought this said NEW PLANNING REGULATIONS IN FORCE FOR HOMOs at first!


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