Landlord needs advice on HMO planning questions

by Readers Question

11:42 AM, 29th August 2019
About A year ago

Landlord needs advice on HMO planning questions

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Landlord needs advice on HMO planning questions

I have an HMO situation that I may need some help and advice with. I applied to Barnet council for an HMO license which was granted.

A few weeks later Barnet council Planning Dept have now written to me asking me questions.

After doing some checking myself, I can see that six other flats in my purpose-built block have a been rejected for an HMO licence due to requiring planning permission for a change of use – from C3 (Dwellinghouse) to C4 (HMO) – planning for which was refused..

The reason for the denial seems to be there was not a continuous use of three of the rooms since Barnet change their policies in May 2016. These previous rejections were also given the reason that the Barnet VOA system shows that the flats have been paying council tax as a mixed use property, not as an HMO.

Couple of questions

– Since 2014 I rented the property out to an agency who was subletting each room. I took it back in Nov 2018. Because of this, I am unsure about how best to answer the question – when “operations or activities stated in the notice began” (the notice being the Planning notice they sent me)

– If I personally have been paying the council tax in my property for the last few years, does this mean there may be an adjustment in payment required?

Any advice on my next move?

Luke


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Comments

Richard Peeters

10:05 AM, 30th August 2019
About A year ago

Hi Luke, you might need to add more info to get some informed responses here, for example:
1. Does Barnet BC operate an Article 4 scheme in that area, which would mean you cannot rely on permitted development to use it as an HMO (C3 to C4). Was that the change in May 2016?
2. Are there five or more occupants in the HMO (which would put it under the mandatory HMO licensing regime)?
3. If less than five, then does Barnet BC operate an additional licensing scheme?
4. Was there some non-residential use of the flat that caused it to be classed as "mixed use"? Yes, if you had that amended to Residential-only, there may be repercussions, perhaps including a Council Tax bill with late payment penalties.
5. While strictly neither planning nor licensing related, do the terms of the flat's lease, mortgage and insurance policies, allow subletting? If yes, do they insist on all occupants being on one AST, and not room-by-room? This is important because the freeholder can forbid non-compliant operation; the licensing authority will inform mortgage lenders of the license; and you also want your insurance to remain valid.


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