Planning permission for Houses in Multiple Occupation

A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is where at least three tenants who are not from the same household live, and they share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities.

Before converting a Class C3 dwelling house into a house in multiple occupation you will need to check if you need planning permission. The Planning Portal has more information on the definition of a class C3 and C4 house.

You will also need consent to put up letting boards in certain areas.

If you want to convert an HMO back into use as a C3 dwelling house then you do not need permission.

You need to get planning permission for a HMO when:

  • it’s classed as a large HMO. A large HMO is defined as houses or flats which are occupied as a main residence by seven or more unrelated people who share basic amenities such as communal kitchen and bathroom areas
  • when permitted development rights have been removed due to an Article 4 direction. Find out where permitted development rights have been removed.

Temporary change of use

If you let a property to a family for sole use of the house you would then need planning permission to change the property to a small HMO again. You can take in up to two lodgers without needing to apply for change of use. More than that would require planning permission.

HMO licences

You may also need to apply for an HMO licence. HMO licences are governed by The Housing Act 2004 which is separate from planning legislation. A decision to grant a HMO licence under the Housing Act 2004 will have no bearing on any decisions made in the planning process.

Advice on change of use to a HMO

If you would like further advice in relation to a proposal to change the use of a property from C3 to C4 use we offer a pre-application advice service for planning proposals.