Newham are not granting any further change of use permissions?

by Readers Question

9:34 AM, 18th July 2014
About 4 years ago

Newham are not granting any further change of use permissions?

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Newham are not granting any further change of use permissions?

I might have to sell my house because Newham council won’t let me let it to a group of professional sharers.

It’s too expensive and large for most families (agents suggest 2k pcm) and Newham council have said they are not granting any more planning permission for change of use, which I have to have in order to apply for an additional HMO to let to more than two unrelated people.

I am myself renting a property in another area to be near my elderly mother and I am also getting over an illness which has prevented me from working, so I am dependent on the rent from my house. I have also just spent a lot of money to repair and refurbish it ready to let again.

Does anyone have any advice? I really don’t want to sell my house and eventually I will move in again and I would like to then let to 3/4 more people to share with me.

Many Thanks

Jill change



Comments

Jamie M

9:42 AM, 18th July 2014
About 4 years ago

Planners are utter controlling s####. Place your planning application in with them and get their response, in which they have to detail the reasons, then appeal, its your best chance. You need the grounds they make up! in order to deal with it. If you have a local planning expert it might be a good idea to speak to and work with them.

Ian Narbeth

10:25 AM, 18th July 2014
About 4 years ago

Newham have passed an Article 4 direction - see http://www.newham.gov.uk/Documents/Environment%20and%20planning/HMO-Article-4-Direction-cabinet-report.pdf
You need to apply for planning permission to change use. I do not think they can lawfully "not grant any more planning permissions" for change of use. As James Moodie says, apply for permission and get the Council to give their reasons. Note in particular the

"Reasons for the Recommendations
The reasons for the recommendations are to exert greater control over a sector that has significant elements of poor living conditions, negative impacts on ASB [Anti Social Behaviour] and reduced quality external environments, to address issues associated with population churn and seeking to encourage people (particularly families) to remain in the borough. This is elaborated on in the main report. "

The Council is to "exercise greater control", not "stamp out" the sector!

If you are offering a high quality HMO let to professionals you may be able to address most of these points, though population churn is inevitable with HMOs but that is how many people live these days. Hope this helps.
Ian

Joe Bloggs

10:26 AM, 18th July 2014
About 4 years ago

have you bought the house since jan 2013? if not then did you apply for a small HMO licence or a single dwelling licence? if the former then you have established use and dont need to apply for planning permission. if the latter, then im afraid you only have yourself to blame as you applied for the wrong PRS licence (you are not alone as i know of other experienced landlords who applied for the wrong licence). its not really the planners fault as they are just implementing the policy decided by robin wales, the mayor of newham. if you bought the house after licensing was implemented you havent done sufficient due diligence. you could take it to appeal and you never know. or you could try and argue that the article 4 direction is invalid for some reason!

Jill Coyne

13:17 PM, 18th July 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Joe Bloggs" at "18/07/2014 - 10:26":

I've been letting to professional sharers for years but at the time licensing was introduced I just happened to have a family there. Tthey were only going to be staying a short time so I asked newham for an additional HMO but they refused saying it was not appropriate as I had a family there, & they insisted I had to have a selective licence even when I told them I normally had a group of sharers. Now they've gone after wrecking the place & I've refurbed it & the agents all say it's unlikely I'd get a family again for the same rent or even a bit less, tho no prob to find professional sharers.
The licensing dept said that there's more strain on a property let to 3 or 4 professionals than to a family of 11, even tho professionals mostly eat out. I ask you.

Jill Coyne

13:21 PM, 18th July 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Joe Bloggs" at "18/07/2014 - 10:26":

I can also prove established use was to professional shares- contracts going back more than 8yrs

Jill Coyne

13:35 PM, 18th July 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ian Narbeth" at "18/07/2014 - 10:25":

Thanks. Will do. It also excludes people like me who don't want to live alone & want to share with other people.

Joe Bloggs

13:38 PM, 18th July 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jill Coyne" at "18/07/2014 - 13:21":

hi,
bad luck.
shame you didnt evict the family beforehand and get sharers in ahead of the article 4 which i think was august last yr. if you had sharers in before the article 4 came in then you could argue you have an established use (but you might be fined for having the wrong license, which may be the lesser of the two evils). for an established use to arise, the use has to be continuous.
its a good time to sell! but of course that is what newhams ultimate objective is.

Jill Coyne

2:59 AM, 19th July 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jamie Moodie" at "18/07/2014 - 09:42":

James do you mean a local planning expert in the newham planning dept- ie the 'duty officer'?

Bill Williams

8:24 AM, 19th July 2014
About 4 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jill Coyne" at "19/07/2014 - 02:59":

I was planning to rent my home in Newham until they introduced licensing. Now I have just sold up. As a good landlord I do not see why I need Newham looking over my shoulder. I will be able to buy 2 properties in the North, where most of my properties are, with the proceeds. The rental income from 2 properties in the North amount to 30% more than the rent for 1 in Newham.
Suggest you do the same.
Market is bouyant in Newham, advertised Friday, sold on Saturday.

Jill Coyne

9:31 AM, 19th July 2014
About 4 years ago

Does anyone know if getting planning permission in Newham is discretionary? Can the council issue an additional licence if you have a Selective licence without sending you through planning first?

A reputable agent just told me that they just changed over a licence from Selective to Additional HMO for a landlord in the same road who had a similar situation (was renting to a family but then needed to change the licence to rent to a group) and without the need for planning permission first.

Another agent I've used explained my situation to two people in charge of Newham licensing and they both said I could just get the licence changed over without planning but it would cost £500.

I find it very difficult to understand the rules as people working in newham council often don't understand them, or don't listen to the question, or answer a different question. Mostly they don't care enough to be helpful.

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