Planning permission for houses in multiple occupation

Planning permission for small HMOs - Article 4 Directions 

The council introduced a citywide 'Article 4 Direction' on 3 June 2020. This removes permitted development rights and means that planning permission is required to change the use of a single dwelling house (defined as C3) to a property lived in by between three and six people where facilities such as a kitchen or bathroom are shared (C4 use class).

Map of Article 4 Direction Boundaries (PDF, 2.85 MB)

The Article 4 Direction addresses the impact of concentrations of HMOs such as increased noise and refuse, the proliferation of “To Let” boards, untidy gardens, additional parking demands and changes to local shopping areas.

There is no need to apply for planning permission for properties that were already in Class C4 use within the Article 4 Direction Area before the direction came into effect on 3 June 2020 (or 5 April 2013 in the five wards covered by a previous Article 4 Direction – Hanover and Elm Grove, Hollingdean and Stanmer, Moulsecoomb and Bevendean, Queens Park and St. Peters and North Laine) . You should seek to secure your own evidence, such as copies of tenancy agreements, to show that the property was in Class C4 use on or before these dates . You could also apply to the city council for a Certificate of Lawful Use. There would be a fee for this certificate. If you are in any doubt you should seek independent advice.

Large HMOs (for seven or more people)

If you wish to rent your property to seven or more people in any area of the city, you must apply for planning permission and pay the relevant fee.

Map of existing HMOs

Our map shows properties that are currently recorded as being houses in multiple occupation.

Making a planning application

For a change of use application we would expect a site plan and floor plans

Determining planning applications 

Planning applications for changes of use to an HMO will be determined with consideration of the following information:

If you have a concern about a HMO's planning authorisation, please look at our planning enforcement information.

Licensing Houses in Multiple Occupation

As well as planning permission, HMOs also need to be licensed.