Permitted development rights apply to HMOs

There is sometimes a degree of uncertainty concerning the application of permitted development rights to houses in multiple occupation. Here is an inspector setting the record straight (DCS Number 400-013-332):

“The appeal property is a mid terrace building currently in use as a small House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) for up to 6 people (Class C4). The proposal seeks approval for a single storey rear extension with a flat roof to 6 metres (m) from the original rear wall of the house. The GPDO allows for such extensions to terraced dwellinghouses. However, it is the Council’s assertion that given the current use of the appeal property as a small HMO, it does not benefit from such permitted development rights under the provisions of the GPDO.

Nevertheless, it is my understanding that HMOs, including those which fall within Class C4, can benefit from the permitted development rights granted to dwellinghouses by the GPDO. The test for whether a property is eligible to use the permitted development right is whether it can be considered a dwellinghouse within the context of the GPDO. On this matter, case law has established that the distinctive characteristic of a dwellinghouse is its ability to afford to those who use it the facilities required for a day-to-day private domestic existence.”

Having found that the property afforded the people who used it the facilities required for a day-to-day private domestic existence the inspector concluded that it would benefit from the permitted development rights granted to dwellinghouses by the GPDO.

The following DCP section is relevant: 11.2

One Response to “Permitted development rights apply to HMOs”

  1. David Mensah

    Some councils I know make a distinction between “small HMOs” — i.e. C4, and larger sui-generis ones. Would this still hold for a sui-generis HMO? (It’s worth keeping in mind that the step from say a 6 bed C4 HMO to a 7 or 8 bed sui-generis HMO may still be PD -see this old DCLG Circular 08/2010

    “Large houses in multiple occupation – those with more than six people sharing – are unclassifed by the Use Classes order and are therefore considered to be ‘sui generis’.

    Although the control limit of six persons defines the scope of the C3 (b) and (c) dwellinghouses and C4 houses in multiple occupation classes, this does not imply that any excess of that number must constitute a breach of planning control. A material change of use will occur only where the total number of residents has increased to the point where it can be said that the use has intensifed so as to become of a different character or the residents in relation to C3 no longer constitute a single household. “

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