The previous government introduced new planning legislation which meant that landlords had to submit a planning application to rent their properties to unrelated tenants - known as Houses in Multiple Occupation. Regulations published last month remove this requirement and make it easy for landlords to establish HMOs.
The amendments came into force on 1 October.
Councils have the right to apply for an 'article 4 direction' in some or all of their area which requires landlords to seek planning permission for HMOs. This provision is in place for areas where HMOs have been particularly prevalent. I've been told, though have not verified, that Leeds City Council have applied for a citywide article 4 direction.
I have written to Cllr Nilgun Canver to ask her if there are any plans to apply for such a direction for Harringay.
Thanks to HoL member Helen (you know who you are) for tipping me the wink on this one.
I've just been having a quick Google on this and found the followig on the Royal Town Planning Insutute's website:
Introduction of Article 4 Directions
An informally given update on Article 4 Directions was reported to the RTPI on 17 September. It said:
In respect of councils using Article 4 Directions to limit further HMO development in designated areas, the Minister has advised that the consent of the Secretary of State will not be required.
Most importantly the Minister is also advising that councils with policies already limiting HMO development in parts of their locality, can bring in Article 4 Directions straightaway, without notice, to coincide with the national policy change.
Although the notice period would not be given, it is the Minister's view that for councils that already have policies in place which clearly state where they stand on further HMO development, landlords already know their position - so a 1 October Article 4 Direction would not constitute a new policy unknown to potential applicants, and in the Ministers' opinion would carry little risk (RTPI emphasis) of successful challenge.
The following clarification was issued by CLG on 28 September.
"It does not matter whether a local authority has an existing policy restricting HMO development or not for the purposes of compensation liability. Under the planning system there is a general principle that once permission has been granted, either by a specific grant of planning permission or by means of a development order, the right to develop is guaranteed and can only be withdrawn upon payment of compensation. It is that principle that is being adhered to here. Local authorities will, therefore, be liable to pay compensation in all instances where Article 4 Directions are made with less than 12 months’ notice.
However, it may be that where a local authority has had a clear policy limiting HMOs in place for some time there are likely to be fewer planning applications and so the number of compensation claims is likely to be reduced."
My understanding is that Haringey already has a policy limiting HMO development so could introduce Article 4 immediately. I only wish I could find out what their thinking is. In the meantime other councils around the country have already introduced Article 4.
This same article, date just a few days ago, looks at which councils are using Article 4. It states:
So that looks like our latest update then. I did also come across the atached report by Haringey HOUsing to the Scrutiny Committee about HMOs which mentions an additional licensing scheme, but it's not clear how that relates to the, I think, tougher Article 4.
The possibility of introducing an A4D to cover cluster areas of HMO concentrations is being considered. This is still at an early stage.
Setting Article 4 directions in general is a very lenghty and resource intensive process. At this stage as the corporate HMO working grp. we have agreed to use other controls and processes that are cheaper to run and more effective, for example; using the discretionary licensing powers that are available to us. This is certainly applicable to Harringay ward. As you’re aware we have carried out an intensive evidence gathering audit during the pilot project. It was a stepping stone to enable us to get to phase two where we can use the discretionary powers. This will give us powers to co-ordinate enforcement better for landlords who run smaller HMOs that were not on the radar of mandatory licensing. Once we declare the area for this additional licensing all landlords who operate in the area will have to register their properties with the council. You'll be aware of the recent survey carried out in the area for this purpose by our private sector housing team. We are now definately working towards using the discretianery powers in Harringay ward. There will be a report submitted to Cabinet in June. We will then roll out this practice to other parts of Haringey. i hope this is helpful.
Thanks Nilgun. Useful. It sounds like the officers have done some very careful work comparing the relative costs and efficacies of 'other controls and processes' vs. Article 4. Please can you let me know how I can get a copy of their report.