A guide to HMO Planning Use Laws

As of the 1st October 2010, new regulations came into force which affects houses and flats let to groups of sharers (e.g. students, migrant workers, young professionals etc.).

The changes made were that planning permission is no longer required where a single house/flat occupied by a family is rented out as a small shared house/flat or bedsit for the first time after 6th April 2010, unless the local planning authority have issued an Article 4 Direction.

Over 30 authorities have made or are consulting on Article 4 Directions and with the proposed Welfare reform planning to reduce housing benefits to under 35s (leaving most other option than shared accommodation) the RLA continues to vigorously campaign against these changes.

These planning use laws affect not only landlords in the private sector but also owner/occupiers who let out rooms in their own homes. For more information see:

Full details on Planning Use Law

Areas currently affected by Article 4

What is a material change of use?

About the author



The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) represents the interests of landlords in the private rented sector (PRS) across England and Wales. With over 23,000 subscribing members, and an additional 16,000 registered guests who engage regularly with the association, we are the leading voice of private landlords. Combined, they manage almost half a million properties.

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