4 year rule and HMO planning permission

4 year rule and HMO planning permission

10:22 AM, 17th July 2020, About 4 years ago 2

Text Size

I have an issue regarding an office that was converted into a 3-bed flat June 2016 with full planning permission and would welcome any advice on how to tackle the problem.

Since being converted, it has been rented out to 3 friends and was covered by a Selective Property Licence which was the correct licence type at the time. However, the local council changed the rules for their new scheme and a property that has 3 friends who are not related is now classed as a non-mandatory HMO and needs an Additional HMO Licence.

The issue is that changing use from a C3 to C4 wouldn’t be a problem if the council hadn’t introduced an Article 4 Direction in September 2014 which means the change of use now requires planning consent which the council won’t give and I’m faced with having to serve the tenants notice and try to replace them with a single-family (at most likely a lower rent)

I thought that normally, a change of use without planning permission requires 10 years of continuous usage but one council officer told me that as C4 comes within the category of a single dwelling house planning use, it is reduced to 4 years and I can apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness. I asked for this in writing, but it all went quiet and nothing has been forthcoming.

June 2020 marked 4 years of continuous use for what is now a C4 non-mandatory HMO so would I be able to apply for the correct licence (Additional HMO) on the basis of this accepted usage and relying on the 4-year rule so that planning permission couldn’t be refused?


Share This Article


Christopher Marsden

Become a Member

If you login or become a member you can view this members profile, comments, posts and send them messages!

Sign Up

9:25 AM, 18th July 2020, About 4 years ago

Hi have you advertised the property to see if you will get a lower rent because in 2016 I purchased a house in Bromley and refurbished it to HMO standards in agreement with the council but when I advised it the process became difficult so I advertised it for families and had alot of interest. I managed to rent it for the same target income and luckily I still have the same tenants.
I read there is greater demand in the market and why fight the authorities. Tough on your friends though. But I have to say that I have heard some disappointing stories about landlords that rented to friends.


Become a Member

If you login or become a member you can view this members profile, comments, posts and send them messages!

Sign Up

9:35 AM, 19th November 2020, About 4 years ago

Hi Jonathan,

Did you ever receive a firm answer on this??

I am in a very similar position. A case of 1/3rd of the rent or selling it at 100k less than I could if I had a CLEUD.

I am now 5 years in to (illegally- i guess) renting the property as an HMO. So, if the 4 year rule applies, I'd be keen to make everything above board. If not, then I guess it's trying to stay under the radar for another 5 years!!...

Let me know if you shed any light on this!

Thanks in advance


Leave Comments

In order to post comments you will need to Sign In or Sign Up for a FREE Membership


Don't have an account? Sign Up

Landlord Tax Planning Book Now