Motion to change HMO planning guidance

Proposals to amend planning requirements to create consistency in the development of houses of multiple occupation will be considered by Dudley Council.

At a full council meeting earlier this month a motion was put forward asking members to consider a change to when planning permission is required for small houses of multiple occupation.

As it currently stands, people can apply to change the use of a property to a small house of multiple occupation (with between three and six occupiers) under permitted development rights, while larger HMOs have to go through the full planning process. By removing the permitted development rights, any applications for a HMO, of any size, would be governed by the same rules.

The motion was passed at full council and Dudley Council officers now need to develop the evidence required in order for the proposed changes to be justified.

As part of this work officers will also be looking to strengthen licensing requirements for the operation of HMOs, so they can be better monitored, and landlords held responsible for any negative impact on communities.

Evidence will be presented at a future cabinet meeting and members will be asked to approve the changes. The new rules would not come into force for 12 months once given cabinet approval. Councillor Simon Phipps, cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, said:

"Under article 4 of the National Planning Policy Framework we are able to increase the requirements for applications for planning permission to HMOs.

"But this has to be based on robust evidence and apply to small areas only so there’s still a lot of work to do on this, but we are positive we can improve the way HMOs are governed.

"This would only act a temporary solution as there are plans to introduce a new policy on HMOs within the Black Country Plan when it is adopted in 2024."

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