Article 4 direction: ‘small’ houses in multiple occupation (HMO)

Planning regulations set out the use classes within which different types of land uses fall.  

Historically in Salford the change of use of a typical dwellinghouse occupied by a single household in use class C3, to a property used as a ‘small’ HMO that is shared by between three and six unrelated people in use class C4, could have been done without the need for planning permission under ‘permitted development rights’. 

On Tuesday 14 November 2017 the city council decided that an application for planning permission would be required for the change of use of dwellinghouses to small HMOs. This would apply in all of the Central Salford wards (Broughton, Claremont, Irwell Riverside, Kersal, Ordsall, Langworthy, Weaste and Seedley), and the wards of Barton and Eccles from 25 November 2018, and would be secured by what is known as an article 4 direction. The evidence to justify the purpose and extent of the direction, a map showing the area to which it would apply, the article 4 direction itself and the notice of its making can be downloaded below.

Consultation period 

The council consulted on its intention to bring the article 4 direction into force between Friday 24 November 2017 and Friday 5 January 2018. 

Confirmation of the direction

Consultee comments and the city council’s response to them are set out in a report that was considered by the City Mayor and his Cabinet on 9 October 2018. Having regard to this, a decision was taken to confirm the direction, meaning that it came into force on 25 November 2018. The notice of the confirmation of the direction can be viewed below.

As a result of the decision to confirm the direction, planning permission is now required for the change of use of dwellinghouses to small HMOs in those wards listed above. A map showing these areas can be downloaded below. Additionally, the city council’s interactive map shows the area covered by the direction (under the ‘Planning and heritage data section’).

Guidance on applying for planning permission is available on the city council’s website. Planning applications for the change of use a dwellinghouse to a small HMO will be considered having regard to local planning policies, the National Planning Policy Framework, and other material planning considerations. Issues that will normally be taken into account when determining planning applications include amenity, the character of an area, whether there is an over concentration of HMOs in the local area, and also the provision of car parking. 

Planning permission will not be required retrospectively for any property currently in use as a small HMO. Government guidance (paragraph 46) also indicates that where development for the change of use of a use class C3 dwellinghouse to a small HMO in use class C4 has commenced before 25 November 2018, but has not been completed, the development can continue without the need for an application for planning permission.

The council recommends that landlords of small HMOs that existed before 25 November 2018 ensure that they have sufficient records of properties being in use as a small HMO prior to the direction coming into force. This could include for example tenancy agreements and photographic evidence. In addition, where works are being undertaken to change the use of a dwellinghouse to a small HMO and thee works started before 25 November 2018, the council would recommend that landlords ensure they have proof of this.

Landlord licensing

As noted above, planning applications for the change of use of a dwellinghouse to a small HMO will be determined having regard to planning policies and other material planning considerations. Completely separate to planning regulations, where a property is used as a house in multiple occupation it will require a licence. If the HMO has five or more occupants that form two or more households, the landlord must obtain a mandatory HMO licence. From 19 July 2021, if the HMO has three or four tenants that form two or more households, the landlord must obtain an additional HMO Licence from the council.

In some areas of the city a licence will be required for rented properties irrespective of the number of occupants or number of households within it. This is known as selective licensing

This page was last updated on 25 May 2021

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