Newham are not granting any further change of use permissions?

by Readers Question

9:34 AM, 18th July 2014
About 7 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

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philip allen

13:45 PM, 19th July 2014
About 7 years ago

It seems to me that Robin Wales will not be the Mayor of Newham forever. When the elections come around, if someone stands on a ticket of abolishing selective licensing, they will probably win with a landslide. How many PRS landlords are there in Newham and how many of the local population give a monkeys about who is mayor? Stick together and chase the Robin all the way back to Wales.

Joe Bloggs

16:24 PM, 19th July 2014
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "philip allen" at "19/07/2014 - 13:45":

unfortunately that is not the case at all. most landlords dont live in newham. he has a completely safe seat...every single councillor is labour. and he spends a fortune on propaganda and his own frequently delivered magazine to make sure it stays that way. there is a strong suspicion that his large advertising budget is a strong dis-insentive for the local press to run unflattering stories. and robin wales is scottish...never trust a man called wales who is from scotland. he probably wouldnt have introduced licensing if affected landlords were newham voters!


7:34 AM, 21st July 2014
About 7 years ago

The rules on what is meant by an HMO are confusing and change between different pieces of legislation. See an attempted explanation at

Would one option short of full sale be to define yourself as a live-in landlord, with the other tenants as lodgers? You would keep one bedroom for yourself, put yourself on the electoral roll, pay all the bills (and be reimbursed by the lodgers), and have lodging agreements rather than Assured Shorthold Tenancies. The house would be your Principal Private Residence for tax purposes, while your rented place is just a temporary one so that you can care for your mother.

Of course the negative of this arrangement is that you would lose a lot of rent, and you may only be allowed two lodgers to escape Newham's definition of an HMO.

Beyond this, I think you should try applying for planning permission and appealing any refusal: you are hardly a professional landlord with multiple properties and it seems very harsh to ban you from renting out your home while you are temporarily living elsewhere. Encouraging your local paper to take an interest might also help exert some leverage on the council, though from everything I've read about Newham, they prefer to play to the anti-landlord gallery and don't give a damn about individual landlords' personal situations.

Ian Narbeth

8:11 AM, 21st July 2014
About 7 years ago

Don't rely on the Council staff to be helpful. Some local authority staff are, many aren't.

Often they are not specialist planners or lawyers and will honestly but wrongly give you the "party line" without it being correct. My advice is that you get advice from a planning consultant or a solicitor who specialises in planning. You may well have to appeal against a refusal and you will have to incur additional costs with no 100% guarantee of success. But as things stand Newham will stonewall you. Planning is not "discretionary" - the planners have to follow the law and if they do not you can win on appeal. You need some big guns on your side.

Jill Coyne

8:50 AM, 21st July 2014
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Tony Atkins" at "21/07/2014 - 07:34":

Tony- yes as far as I've understood it from Newham, being a live in landlord (I'd been considering this anyway) would allow me to have two only two other people living there plus I'd have to foot all the bills, even though it's a 4/5 dbl bed property. And due to the size of the house, rent from only two people would cover little more than the bills. At least the hassle wouldn't be worth it.

Jill Coyne

9:02 AM, 21st July 2014
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ian Narbeth" at "21/07/2014 - 08:11":

Ian- thanks. If anyone knows a planning consultant or planning lawyer in Newham they can recommend pls advice.


9:44 AM, 21st July 2014
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jill Coyne" at "21/07/2014 - 08:50":

Jill: you don't need to cover all the bills: you merely make the payments, and as long as it's clear in the contracts that all bills are shared, there's nothing to stop you recouping each lodger's fair share of the bills (including council tax and TV licence), either by building a regular payment into their monthly rent or by simply issuing a regular invoice to them. You would simply be an equal partner in the houseshare with responsibility for managing the bills on behalf of the others.

An additional option to fill your spare rooms, if you went the route of lodging, might be to offer short-stay accommodation. I appreciate this is something of a long shot, as it would need to be managed, and since you are not living there, you would need one of the lodgers to be trustworthy and available (for a fee or reduced rent) to control access, top up the continental breakfast supplies, etc. But with the right person, it could be done: London has a high demand for short-stay accommodation, and there are websites like Airbnb designed for people who are marketing short-stay rooms in "normal" houses.

John Daley

11:00 AM, 21st July 2014
About 7 years ago

Hi Jill,

If you live in the property as an owner occupier Newham can do nothing to restrict your freedom of action to let rooms in your house as you please. The renters will be licensees and the licensing legislation simply does not apply.

However if you are not in residence, and keeping a room for your own use is not sufficient residence if you don't actually spend most of your time there, Newham could take action for failing to license and that would be bad.

Jill Coyne

11:04 AM, 21st July 2014
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "John Daley" at "21/07/2014 - 11:00":

John Im intending to live there again but newham said I would still not be able to have more than two people living there except for short term visitors, certainly not paying guests. How can I verify what you are saying?

Jill Coyne

11:30 AM, 21st July 2014
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Tony Atkins" at "21/07/2014 - 09:44":

Tony Yes lodgers plus short term lodgers would work. Just that I couldn't cope with being there & managing it for the next 3-6 months due to other ties. Already turned down a group of 3 professionals.

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