We have previously posted on the introduction of the requirement for planning consent for Houses in Multiple Occupation, introduced by the outgoing Labour government as one of their last acts. This is now set to be undone with the laying before Parliament of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment) (No.2) (England) Order 2010.
This amends the usual planning GPDO to allow free movement between the C3 and C4 planning classes. However, the requirement for planning consent for larger HMOs of more than 6 persons will remain in place and unchanged and many local authorities are keeping a close eye on this.
There is also the possibility for planning authorities to make an article 4 direction to opt-out of parts of the GPDO and there remains a possibility that some planning authorities, particularly those dealing with high levels of HMOs may choose to do so. However, given the possibility of compensation being awarded if such a direction were to be made and the cost of dealing with the planning applications and appeals it may not be something that budget-conscious planning authorities are all that keen to do.
It should be pointed out that the original HMO planning changes and this slight easing of them do not apply in Wales.