Planning permission and licence applications?

Planning permission and licence applications?

10:29 AM, 10th March 2020, About 2 years ago 5

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Waltham Forest have made changes to their renewed licence scheme that comes into effect on 1st May such that additional licensing will apply to smaller houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) that are not covered by the mandatory HMO or selective licence schemes. We have many such properties that have 3-4 unrelated renters. However, planning permission will now need to be granted first before the license is issued and there is no link between the issuing of planning permission and obtaining a licence.

Apart from the issue of an Article 4 direction which means that most applications to change from a dwelling house (C3) to a HMO (C4) will be rejected, I have found it impossible just to find out from Waltham Forest Planning, in simple terms, how to apply for planning permission to change from C3 to C4. All the documentation they have sent on planning applications is largely incomprehensible and relates more to extensions, loft conversions and substantial building works. Every attempt to try and speak to someone in Planning is frustrated by all lines being busy up to 12:00 and then from 13:00 the phones aren’t answered as everyone is out on inspections.

How do I find out what needs to be done to make a simple planning application? And if the application is rejected, how we can find single families able to pay £1750 – £1900 for a 3-bedroom house in Walthamstow

Many thanks




11:02 AM, 10th March 2020, About 2 years ago

The council is like that, difficult to contact

paul robinson

11:14 AM, 10th March 2020, About 2 years ago

If rented as a HMO prior to article 4 changes, believe you can apply for a certificate of lawful use, rather than going through the planning process. Has it been confirmed that your LA HMO team require the CLU to issue a HMO licence?


14:04 PM, 10th March 2020, About 2 years ago

Thanks for the reply. The property was first rented in its current form (4 unrelated tenants) from 10th December 2011 so it would qualify as established use but needs a certificate of lawful use as you rightly suggest. Having obtained one, it looks unreasonably onerous considering all that will be asked for is to change the use from C3 to C4.

It is fortunate that in this case, the previous usage can be easily proved however many other properties we have can point to continuous usage as small HMOs for 5 years or more but unfortunately, do not predate the Article 4 Direction from September 2014.

Any suggestions on what we might be able to do with these properties?

paul robinson

16:24 PM, 10th March 2020, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Jonathan at 10/03/2020 - 14:04
I’ve got some HMO that I’m considering apply for CLU - have you done this, was it complicated?

Sorry not sure I understand regarding the other properties - they have been rented as HMO but only since Article 4 changes?

Yvonne Francis

19:52 PM, 11th March 2020, About 2 years ago

I know councils differ in their polices, but when HMO licencing came to me, first for larger properties in 2004, and afterwards smaller ones in about 2012, they did not allow us to apply for planning by established use, but automatically granted planning to properties of six or less. Are you sure Walham Forest does not operate anything like this. I wonder what other landlords experiences are?

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