Planning controls over changes of use to small Houses in Multiple Occupation

The council has brought in changes to the planning process concerning small Houses in Multiple Occupation in some parts of the city.

On 5 April 2013, an article 4 direction relating to houses in multiple occupation (HMO's) came into force in five electoral wards within Brighton and Hove.  In those wards, the direction means that a planning application will be required to change the use of a single dwellinghouse (defined as C3 use in planning legislation) to a small house in multiple occupation (C4 use class).  Small HMOs are properties lived in by between three and six people where facilities such as a kitchen or bathroom are shared.

Background to the article 4 direction

Small houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) provide an important and affordable type of accommodation for many city residents, including students.  The council is keen to ensure the continued provision of these properties to meet the city’s housing needs, while also understanding the concerns of some residents about the impact of concentrations of HMOs in certain areas of the city.  These concerns can include increased noise and refuse problems, proliferation of “To Let” boards, untidy gardens, additional parking demands and changes to local shopping areas.

The council wants to work with residents, landlords, students, colleges and universities to ensure that efforts to deal with HMO issues and provide high quality student accommodation are successful.  Alongside the controls over new HMO accommodation, the council is seeking to encourage the provision of new purpose built student accommodation and has identified sites for an additional 2,200 bedspaces in the emerging City Plan.  We aim to achieve sustainable, healthy and inclusive communities across Brighton & Hove.

What areas are affected?

The areas affected are the following five wards, within which the article 4 direction applies: Hanover and Elm Grove, Hollingdean and Stanmer, Moulsecoomb and Bevendean, Queen’s Park and St. Peters and North Laine.

At the time of a background study in 2010, mapping of existing HMO properties was carried out. The following links provide maps which show this information on a street by street basis:

These maps are indicate areas of high concentration of HMO properties on a street by street basis; they do not however provide definitive up to date information in relation to specific properties. Planning applications for changes of use to HMO will be determined based upon Council records relating to HMO properties, having regard to Policy CP21 of the emerging Brighton and Hove City Plan Part One.

Where can I find out more?

The following documents are available to give you more information about the article 4 direction:

You can read a copy of the article 4 direction [PDF, 713kb] itself. This includes a map showing the area that would be covered.

The article 4 direction was originally agreed at the Cabinet meeting on 15 March 2012.  You can read a copy of the Cabinet report [PDF, 105kb]. Following the public consultation process and careful consideration of the responses received, the direction was subsequently confirmed by the council’s Policy and Resources Committee on 24 January 2013.  The committee report can be found here.

Policy CP21 of the emerging Brighton and Hove City Plan Part One will address proposals for new HMOs.  Policy CP21 can be found here.

If you have any other questions about the article 4 direction or HMOs in general, please contact the Development Control team on (01273) 292222.