Article 4 Directions - A guide for landlords

Steve Lumley·29 May 2023·3 min read
Article 4 Directions - A guide for landlords
Under current planning laws, planning consent is not needed to convert a house into an HMO designed for between three and six people to live in.

However, Article 4 Directions enables a council to create a 'zone' and restrict permitted development rights for all properties in that designated area. Specifically, the right to change the use class of a property without going through the planning application process.

These zones also cover conservation areas where the local authority does not want changes to be made that may be detrimental to the property and/or area.

It should be noted that Article 4 Directions only apply to a dwelling house (C3) being converted into a small HMO (C4) – and vice versa. Larger HMOs fall under a different classification and necessitate distinct permissions. The Town and Country Planning Order of 1987 details which classes a property is in.

What happens if landlords don't follow HMO Article 4 regulations?

Landlords and letting agents who fail to comply with HMO Article 4 Directions could face legal sanctions and fines. If you convert a property into an HMO within a designated Article 4 area without obtaining planning permission, you could be subject to enforcement action by the local authority.

In addition to a fine, you could be facing legal costs and even a criminal record. It's important for landlords and letting agents to keep up to date with any changes to the regulations in their area and ensure that they adhere to them to avoid any legal consequences.

How can HMO Article 4 Directions benefit the community?

While some HMO landlords and agents may be frustrated at having HMO Article 4 Directions imposed in the area where they operate, the original aim of the legislation was to benefit everyone in a neighbourhood. The directions can help reduce the concentration of HMOs in an area and boost the quality of housing and the environment.

HMO landlords and Article 4 Directions

Article 4 Directions play a crucial role in allowing a council to regulate the number and location of HMOs in specific areas. As a landlord or letting agent, it's important to have a working knowledge of these regulations to avoid legal sanctions and fines. By keeping up to date with any changes to the regulations in your area, you can ensure that you are complying with the law.