10:22 AM, 17th July 2020, About 11 months ago 2
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?
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