To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent assessment he has made of the ability of local government to regulate houses in multiple occupation (HMO); and if his Department will undertake a review of HMO planning regulations.
Local authorities have strong powers to regulate houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). These include mandatory, additional and selective licensing as well as civil penalties of up to £30,000, rent repayment orders and banning orders for those landlords who refuse to comply with the law.
Change of use from a dwellinghouse to a larger HMO housing more than six people always requires an application for planning permission. Nationally set permitted development rights allow a dwellinghouse to change use to a HMO for up to six people who share facilities, without the need for a planning application. This enables the change of use without placing unnecessary burdens on landlords and local planning authorities and we have no current plans to change this.
Where there is sufficient evidence that it is necessary to protect local amenity or the well-being of the area, a local planning authority may withdraw a permitted development right in a specific area using an Article 4 direction under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015, after consultation with the local community.
The Department currently has no plans to review HMO planning regulations.