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Birmingham city-wide Article 4 direction could harm supply-RLA

Victoria Barker
Written by Victoria Barker

The RLA is warning that a proposed city-wide Article 4 direction in Birmingham could harm the supply of housing in the city-and lead to rent increases.

Birmingham City Council is proposing to introduce a city wide Article 4 direction. This means that if a private landlord wishes to convert their property into a House of Multiple Occupation-they would first need to seek planning permission from the council.

Responding to Birmingham City Council’s consultation on the plans, the RLA warn that introducing an Article 4 direction in Birmingham could harm housing supply-something that will be felt the most by the most vulnerable in society, because it could lead to rent increases.

In the consultation response, the RLA point out that Article 4 directions do little to reverse pre-existing issues in the area. The association warns that rather than preventing the creation of new HMOs in the city, the council should make use of the existing powers it already has to tackle such issues.

Why does the council introducing the new rules?

The council says high concentrations of HMOs ‘can have a negative impact on the character of neighbourhoods, residential amenity and create unbalanced communities’.

An existing Article 4, in place since 2014 and covering parts of Selly Oak, Harborne and Edgbaston, will be revoked to make ways for the city-wide restriction. This will take place on the same day the new city-wide direction will come in to force.

A new planning policy is being proposed, which recommends application are refused where the creation of a new HMO:

  • would mean multi-occupancy properties were forming more than 10% of homes in a 100m area
  • where a family house would be sandwiched between HMOs and other non-family housing, 
  • where there would be three of more non-family houses in a row. 

What happens now?

The six week consultation is now closed. You can read the RLA’s response to this consultation here. Following confirmation, if the plans are approved the changes will come into force on June 8th, 2020.

What if my home is already a HMO?

If your property is already a small HMO, planning permission is not required to continue this use. 

However, the local authority has told these landlords they must declare it, and provide details including the address of the property and evidence it is a HMO.

The council says it needs this information to ensure it has as much information as possible about existing HMOs in the city before the Article 4 Direction becomes enforceable.

About the author

Victoria Barker

Victoria Barker

Victoria is the Communications Officer for the RLA.

She is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and media review, and creating social media content. She also contributes to our members magazine, Residential Property Investor.

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