10:54 AM, 12th August 2015, About 6 years ago 3
I have a house in E14 (Tower Hamlets, London) currently arranged as 6 beds, 4 bathrooms and a kitchen/living area over 3 floors. It is let to a group of 6 students on a joint tenancy agreement and is a licensed HMO. The property is classified as c4 under permitted development rights.
I am considering a loft conversion which would create a 4th floor and add two double bedrooms and a bathroom (the works would fall under permitted development rights). The total floor area would go from approx. 120sqm to 160sqm. The layout below would remain unchanged (other than an extra staircase which would be accommodated on the existing landing). There would now be 8 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms and a kitchen/living room.
I spoke to the planners (Tower Hamlets). They agreed that while the actual works can all take place without planning I would need permission to use it as an 8 bed
HMO – which would involve a change of use from c4 to sui generis. The problem is that sui generis is not ‘residential’ and the development policy of Tower Hamlets is against reducing residential property availability. (Policy DM3 part 5)
The planning laws appear to be sadly lacking. I can create an 8 bedroom house via permitted development but I cannot let it to a group of 8 because the planning class assumes this to be a reduction of available residential property – which is clearly not the case.
Has anyone experienced a similar issue? What argument can I use with planners to allow me to let an 8 bedroom house to 8 people on a joint tenancy agreement? This is not a bedsit and I don’t let room by room.
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