Houses in multiple occupation - planning control

Planning permission will be needed in some areas of the borough to control the conversion of houses to 'houses in multiple occupation'.

What is a house in multiple occupation?

A house in multiple occupation (HMO) can be:

  • any building or part of a building used for living accommodation by more than two people who are not part of the same family
  • where they occupy the property as their only or main residence
  • where they share one or more basic amenities and they pay rent for their accommodation.

The full definition of a HMO is contained in section 254 to 260 of the Housing Act 2004.

In general terms, a HMO can be any one of the following:

  • A shared house lived in by people who belong to more than one family sharing one or more basic amenities, such as a toilet, personal washing facilities and cooking facilities.
  • A house in bedsits lived in by people who belong to more than one family sharing one or more basic amenities.
  • An individual flat lived in by people who belong to more than one family sharing one or more basic amenities.

An example of a HMO is student accommodation.

Article 4 direction

In July 2011, following public consultation, a decision was taken to impose an article four direction.  Comments received in response to the consultation exercise are summarised below.

The article four direction means that anyone wishing to create a HMO in the area it covers will have to apply for planning permission.  The planning application would be considered against the council's planning policies.

A copy of the notice of confirmation is available to view below.

Why was an article 4 direction introduced?

Under new national regulations, there is no longer a requirement for landlords or home owners to apply for planning permission before they can use a property as a HMO.

The article four direction, when in enforce, will mean that planning permission will be needed for conversion to a HMO in Basingstoke town and Chineham and the surrounding villages of Old Basing, Oakley and Sherborne St John, including West End.  A map of the area covered by the article four direction is attached below.

The proposal is aimed at keeping a balance between the need for this type of housing to be available in the borough and ensuring that changes to the kind of housing does not have an impact on established communities.  The areas were chosen to address specific concerns in Basingstoke town centre and avoid any knock-on effect for surrounding areas.

Housing policy and licence requirements

You may be aware that HMO properties are known to present an increased fire risk to their occupants. In order to ensure that these are reduced and that the property meets the required standards please contact the Housing Standards Team who will arrange to inspect the property and work with the landlord to ensure the property is of an acceptable standard.

Please also note that, for HMOs with five residents or more, a licence is required from the council.

Find out more information on houses in multiple occupation.

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