Large HMO change of use declined after works complete – Help?

Large HMO change of use declined after works complete – Help?

10:12 AM, 7th July 2016, About 6 years ago 9

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A commercial building (class B8) has been granted a Planning Department change of use to a residential dwelling (class C3). During this time the building has been renovated and applied to the planning dept for change of use to a large 9 bed HMO (class commercial Sui Generis). planning

The renovation is now complete.

The planning dept refused permission and an appeal has been requested.

Question? Planning law currently stipulates that a C3 residential can be a C4 small HMO up to 6 tenants without planning permission. Therefore even though a large 9 bed HMO (sui generis) has been refused, can you still continue to let to up to 6 tenants as a small C4 HMO?

I believe that you can, but the planning dept are threatening me with a STOP order to enforce a closing down of the small HMO if I move in a tenant as in there eyes I have been refused a HMO use. Surly this is wrong legally? Surly if I have already in place a planning permission to change to the use to C3 residential then I have the PD right to use it as a small C4 HMO as a large sui generis HMO which under a planning classes is a different use and permission.

They are arguing that because no one has lived in the property yet and established the change of use it is still a B8 commercial. This seems desperate to me from the council and wrong. To add further to this, IF and I say If the council are legally correct I do not have Planning Department change of use to a small HMO (C4) then surly I can register myself as living there and rent out the rooms to lodgers which I believe I am entitled to do as a residential C3 use?

Please if anyone has the answer to clear this grey area up I would be grateful.



Neil Patterson

10:28 AM, 7th July 2016, About 6 years ago

Hi John,

This is beyond my level of experience I am afraid but hopefully someone can help.

If you do an Article Search to the left of this page and type in planning permission we do have a few past articles that may assist a little.

lisa hudson

13:23 PM, 7th July 2016, About 6 years ago

Hi, could be worth contacting Mark Thompson from for some advice.

rita chawla

14:56 PM, 7th July 2016, About 6 years ago

Hi John, a key condition of c3 use is that there must be a 'single' household, and you cannot have lodgers under that. However, c4 is a permitted change for properties under c3, so you can have upto 6 people/lodgers living there without change of use ( you must meet the environment health rules of being an HMO separately). Please check your 'decision notice' of the change of use from b8 to c3 you had applied for. The decision notice usually specifies if the change of use to c3 is immediate or will start only after you register the place as c3 with council tax. If you have met the conditions in decision notice, you have a c3 use now and council cannot stop you from using it as c4 ( subject to environment health approvals).

Jay James

19:55 PM, 7th July 2016, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "rita chawla" at "07/07/2016 - 14:56":

Hi Rita

Your response implies that environmental health regulations relating to HMOs must be put in place before John could have lodgers. Did you intend to say that? As I understand it one does not have to meet HMO requirements when having lodgers, though it may be a good idea to do so.

rita chawla

8:36 AM, 8th July 2016, About 6 years ago

Hi Jay, you are correct. I didn't mean John has to wait for environment health HMO licence before getting lodgers in. I meant he has to look into that seperately. HMO licence is usually not needed if there are 2 more lodgers living with landlord. If more lodgers are brought in, HMO licence might be required (depending on local council requirements).
Having said that, I did forget to add in the previous post that sometimes councils add certain restrictions when they allow change of use. John needs to check his decision notice to see if his permitted development/PD rights have been restricted when he was given a change of use to c3. In our council we often take such PD rights away when allowing change of use from use class A or B to C to avoid sudden strain on public resources in the neighborhood.

Ali Mussani

21:53 PM, 25th July 2016, About 6 years ago

With B1 offices to C3 change of use there was a restriction on use as an HMO, but I have not seen anything around conversion from B8 to C3. One of the foremost experts in Permitted Development legislation is my solicitor Martin Goodall of Keystone Law , he has written a book on it. He lectures and holds seminars on planning law and also trains planning inspectors and planners. I would suggest you contact him on telephone 020 7152 6550. Good luck.

Joel Davis

11:09 AM, 26th July 2016, About 6 years ago

With C3 you can have 2 lodgers plus the owner. If you have been granted C3 use then changing to C4 is permitted development unless the house is in an article 4 area. You can have up to 6 occupiers with C4.

You only need planning permission if there is a material change of use. This is a question answered on facts and evidence of the impact and all the circumstances in each case. Therefore, if you had C4 with 6 and after a while an extra person moved in, the council would still need to show evidence of unnacceptable impact caused by over intensification by that 1 extra person which is not straightforward to prove.

HMO regs are separate from planning permission so you can have one without the other.

Someone suggested a lawyer so you should get a letter to the council and they will back off as soon as they realise they can't stop you having 6 persons. Why did you not get PP for 9 HMO before spending moeny on the conversion?

Colin McNulty

11:07 AM, 10th August 2016, About 6 years ago

I'm going through pretty much the same process at the moment John. Only I'm going B1(a) to C4 small-HMO, also via C3 residential.

In my case I have prior approval for the B1 to C3, and I'm just trying to get my head around the C3 to C4 part, as you are John.

Where I'm currently at is that you can't go from B1 (or B8 in your case) straight to C4, you have to go via C3. That means the property has to be in single dwelling residential use before you can do the change of use to C4. The obvious question is what does that look like in practice? There are 2 ends of the scale as far as I can see:

1) You let the property to a family on a 6 month AST.
2) You let the property to an individual on a 1 day AST. That could be yourself, or maybe the person who then becomes the first tenant of the HMO.

Either way there will need to be a paper trail (AST's, rent statements, council tax and utility bills maybe) in order to ensure that the planning department are happy to issue a Lawful Development Certificate for C4 usage, which undoubtedly the finance company will require before they agree to refinance the HMO.

If you send me a private message with your phone number John, it would be good to share notes as we both go through this.


10:00 AM, 28th November 2018, About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Colin McNulty at 10/08/2016 - 11:07
Hi there

I am currently looking to go from B1 to C4 but not sure how to approach it at the c3 stage. Any advice would be appreciated!! I know there is no time limit to stay in a c3 but just want to make sure that everything is done correctly and in accordance to the rules


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