Purchase of a licensed HMO without planning permission?

Purchase of a licensed HMO without planning permission?

15:22 PM, 12th July 2016, About 6 years ago 6

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I have come across a HMO property in Milton Keynes that is licensed however, doing checks with the council it does not seem to have any planning permission (article 4) for HMO use. planning hmo

Speaking to the council they have advised me that an already running and establised HMO will not need this permission.(has been running since 2005)

Is this correct?

Is it wise to go ahead and purchase?

Any advice will be highly appreciated.




Joel Davis

23:44 PM, 12th July 2016, About 6 years ago

If the council have confirmed it has been establsihed as HMO use for over 10 years then it is immnue from challenges to it's use.

If you have it in writing then you are safe. Does the vendor or the council have documentary evidence of the number of occupiers over that time? If you are concerned you can apply for a certificate of lawful use but there is really no need. The historic licence records should be enough evidence.

For an in depth info read this:


Kevin Kilkenny

11:06 AM, 13th July 2016, About 6 years ago

Central Bedfordshire, just South of Milton Keynes, only require planning permission if a property has 6 or more bedrooms. I am converting a house with 5 bedrooms and had the planning officer confirm this. Although you will still need to be licenced.

So if you are considering creating a HMO, check out your council's view on this as they do vary. A nice opportunity without planning....makes me smile 🙂

Marlena Topple

11:25 AM, 13th July 2016, About 6 years ago

You may like to speak to your broker about the implications as far as obtaining finance is concerned as some lenders ask for proof of planning permission.

rita chawla

13:46 PM, 13th July 2016, About 6 years ago

If the lender creates an issue or you are worried about it, you can apply for 'certificate of lawfulness - existing' from council. It is issued in such cases - usage with no planning permission for such a long time with no objection. It doesn't cost much, though might take 4-6 weeks to get.

Runju Rahman

17:03 PM, 13th July 2016, About 6 years ago

Thank you all for the amazing advice,
I thought planning permission was needed for all types of HMO, the property is in the shenley area of MK, MK5.

Kevin, had the planning officer mention what thier main rejection reason is for applicants?

David Mensah

14:43 PM, 16th July 2016, About 6 years ago

in most of the UK changing from C3 (normal house) to C4 (HMO with up to 6 people) is permitted developmen (PD) so formally not planning permission is needed, although you might want to apply for a certificate of lawful development just to be sure . https://www.planningportal.co.uk/info/200187/your_responsibilities/37/planning_permission/3

Some councils invoke an article 4 directive to remove PD rights from C3 -> C4 (but usually not C4 --> C3). In that case, they usually had a grandfathering clause which meant that if the property was used as an HMO prior the the article 4 directive, then it is deemed to have HMO status. However, you should check what evidence they require -- some councils can be sticklers for copies of contracts, and argue that if at any time it reverts to C3 (by letting to a single family for instance) then you lose the C4 status.

It sounds like you are in an article 4 area, but that the council recognises prior use. Then you are fine, but you may still want to get this in writing.

Licensing is typically completely separate from planning -- a different branch of the council (usually environment) runs that. Sometimes they don't get along with planning and vice versa, so you may want to talk to people in both divisions.

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