Monday, 27 February 2012
NEW PLANNING REGULATIONS IN FORCE FOR HMOs
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 athttp://www.thanet.gov.uk/housing/multiple_occupancy_homes/applying_for_a_licence.aspx