Welsh landlords will now have to pay for planning permission to convert properties into Houses of Multiple Occupation – without assurances that permission will be granted.
New rules coming into effect from the end of February will mean landlords will require planning permission to convert a house from use as a single household to a shared rental property of three to six unrelated people.
To gain planning permission, landlords will be required to pay a fee of £380 despite there being no guarantee that permission will be given by a local authority. The scheme is similar to that used in England.
It comes not long after the introduction of the Welsh Government’s new licensing and registration scheme for landlords, known as Rent Smart Wales, which could see some having to pay thousands of pounds to be registered.
With all evidence showing that there is a pressing need for more private rented housing across Wales, the Residential Landlords Association is warning that the added costs announced under these new planning rules could cause many landlords to either increase their rents or leave the market altogether.
Commenting, RLA Vice Chairman for Wales, Douglas Haig said: “All the evidence shows that Wales needs more, not less rented housing.
“It beggars belief therefore that landlords are being clobbered once again, expected to pay up for planning permission to convert the use of properties.
“The reality is that landlords will have little option other than to raise rents or exit the market altogether faced with the growing costs of renting housing. Either way, it is tenants who will lose out.
“We call on the Government to think again about these planning changes which will simply become a cash cow for local authorities.”