Article 4 Direction - Houses in Multiple Occupation

The council has made an Article 4 Direction relating to houses in multiple occupation (HMO), this came into force 14 October 2019.

The Direction (HMO) relates to development comprising change of use from a use falling within Class C3 (dwellinghouses) to a use falling within Class C4 (houses in multiple occupation). The Order removes permitted development rights for this type of development from 14 October 2019.

This means that properties within the defined area whereby the owner or perspective owner wish to convert the dwelling/property (Class C3) into a small HMO (Class C4; small shared houses occupied by 3-6 persons unrelated individuals, as their only or main residence who share basic amenities) are required to apply for planning permission. Prior to the Article 4 Direction (HMO) coming into force, planning permission would not have been required. Planning permission is already required for properties shared by 7 or more unrelated people.

It is important to remember, however, that other restrictions apply for Listed Buildings and other consents may be required.

The Article 4 Direction (HMO) applies to land within the areas of Town, Town Fields, Wheatley, Hexthorpe, Balby, Wheatley Hills, Intake and Belle Vue shown edged red on the map below.

Boundary of Article 4 Direction (HMO)
Download (2.65MB - PDF)

Or alternatively can be viewed on the Article 4 Interactive MapNote - this map also shows the extents of any other Article 4 Directions which apply in Doncaster.

The decision to introduce the Direction (HMO) followed a huge amount of data collection work and public consultation aimed at improving the quality of housing in the Central Wards of Doncaster. This was undertaken by the Housing Team, Building Control and the council’s Enforcement Teams.  

Frequently asked questions. 

What is a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)?

An HMO is a property rented out by at least three people who are not from one 'household' (for example, a family) but share facilities like the bathroom and kitchen. It is sometimes called a 'house share'.

Where can I find the definitions of the planning use classes?

The definition of different planning use classes are set out in the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended).

Planning Use Classes:

Use Class C3 (Dwelling Houses) - These generally include self contained houses or flats occupied by a single person, a couple or a family.

Use Class C4 (Small HMOs) - These include self contained houses and flats shared by between 3 and 6 unrelated people as a "house in multiple occupation".

For more information about Planning Use definitions, please refer to the Planning Portal.

What is a Sui Generis HMO?

All HMOs which include more than 6 people sharing do not fall within any specified use class and are considered Sui Generis. This means they are in a class of their own.

Do all HMOs require planning permission?

If you have an extant planning permission for a HMO then no further permission is required.

Planning permission is required for HMO developments comprising the following:

New build Class C4 or Sui Generis HMOs
Changes of use to Sui Generis HMOs
Proposals to intensify or enlarge existing HMOs (where planning permission is required)
Changes of use to Class C4 HMOs (from 14 October 2019)
Proposals for flexible C3/C4 uses (from 14 October 2019)

What is the effect of the Article 4 Direction (HMO)

From 14th October 2019 a change of use from a dwelling house (Class C3) to a house in multiple occupation with 3-6 occupants (Class C4) will require planning permission after 14 October 2019 because the Local Planning Authority has an Article 4 Direction (HMO) which removes permitted development rights for this type of development. You will need to apply to us for permission to change from a house typically lived in by a family to a HMO property if the property is located within a designated area.

Planning permission will therefore be required for any changes of use from a house (Class C3) to house in multiple occupation with 3-6 occupants (Class C4) from 14 October 2019, where the property is within the area covered by the Article 4 Direction (HMO).

What area is covered by the Article 4 Direction (HMO)?

Why has the Article 4 Direction (HMO) appeared on the Land Charges Search for my property?

The Article 4 Direction (HMO) is registered as a planning charge to make property purchases aware of the potential for planning permission to be required.

When did the Council make the Article 4 Direction (HMO)?

The Notice of Making the Article 4 Direction (HMO) was made on 9 August 2018 following a borough-wide consultation exercise to seek the views of residents, elected members and interested parties on the issues raised by the growth of HMOs in the borough.

I own or operate one or more HMOs within the affected area, how will I be affected?

The Article 4 Direction (HMO) cannot be applied retrospectively, so if you currently own or operate HMOs it may be beneficial for you to declare them to the Council.

I have an HMO with more than 6 occupants. How will the Article 4 Direction (HMO) affect me?

The Article 4 (HMO) is irrelevant to any HMOs with more than 6 occupants because these need planning permission now and will continue to do so after the 14 October 2019. If you have an HMO with more than 6 occupants and you do not have planning permission than it may be unlawful and subject to enforcement action.

If my property has been let as a HMO in the past, but is now being let to a family or less than 3 unrelated people, do I need to apply for planning permission to let as an HMO again?

Yes, if a material change of use has occurred. The use class of the property will change from Class C4 to Class C3 upon occupation of the property by a family. Planning permission will however be required to change the use from a C3 dwelling house to C4 HMO again.

If an HMO is empty for a period of time between lettings, will it lose its Use Class C4 HMO status?

No. If a property was used as a C4 HMO prior to it being empty it will not lose its C4 HMO status, provided no other use has taken place between lettings. If the property was used as a C4 HMO before 14 October 2019, or if it was granted planning permission for C4 use after this date, its lawful use will remain as a C4 HMO.

Do I need to apply for planning permission to change the use of my property from a Use Class C4 HMO to a Use Class C3 dwelling house?

No. Change of use from a Class C4 to Class C3 is permitted development. There is no intention to withdraw permitted development rights for this type of development.

How can I avoid the need for a planning application?

In order to avoid the need for a planning application, prior to the Article 4 Direction (HMO) coming into force, an owner can apply for a certificate of existing lawful use - a landlord will need to provide proof of the existing use before the Article 4 Direction (HMO) came into force (i.e. 14 October 2019).

How do I apply for planning permission for an HMO?

Guidance on how to apply for planning permission is available on the How do I apply for planning permission web page.

Can I get any advice before applying for planning permission?

The Council offers a pre-application service which gives you an opportunity to discuss your proposal with a planning officer and find out what information you need to support your planning application.

Further details are available here Pre-Application.

Free general planning advice can also be obtained from the Planning Portal, an online service that offers information on the planning system.
  • Notice of "making" of an Article 4 Direction (HMO) followed a 6 week consultation period ending on 14 September 2018, Consultation Summary:
A4D HMO Consultation statement Feb 2019
Download (3.37MB - PDF)
  • Confirmation of Order Sealed.
A4D HMO's - Sealed Order
Download (403KB - PDF)

Additional Licensing for Houses in Multiple Occupation 

The council has introduced additional licensing, which applies to certain Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) not already covered by mandatory HMO licensing, which came into effect from 1 October 2018. 

Further information can be found at Additional Licensing for Houses in Multiple Occupation.

More Information 

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