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Citywide article 4 directions

Steve McDonald

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Hi all,

New to the group and looking for investment properties in Southampton & Portsmouth. However, both cities have had citywide Article 4 directions in place for a number of years, meaning that planning permission is required to change a C3 house to a C4 HMO - although Southampton have added that an HMO can still benefit from Part 1 Permitted Development rights if it falls within the definition of a "dwellinghouse" (ie it affords to those who use it the facilities required for day-to-day living, and it isn't a building containing one or more flats, or a flat within an HMO).

Can anyone help answer the following questions:

Does Southampton's additional exemption clause allow the conversion of a standard 4BR residential home to a 6BR HMO without the need for planning permission? If not, is a citywide direction likely to make it more difficult to obtain permission?

Are there any attributes that may increase the chances of permission being granted (e.g. availability of off-street parking, number of similar HMOs already on the street)?

Am I right in thinking that conversions to a 7BR HMO aren't impacted as they fall under sui generis so would need permission regardless of the citywide directions?

Many thanks for any information provided,


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In an Article 4 area that blocks Class L rights to go from C3 to C4 it will require a full planning application. 

Parking will be a consideration as will amenity space, bike and bin stores etc.

However the more important check is where other HMOs are locally - so it will be far harder if there is an HMO next door as opposed to 5 streets away.

Larger Sui Generis HMOs will require planning permission irrespective of any Article 4.

Please contact us if you need further assistance or complete our fee proposal form if you would like a price for planning. 

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