15 Feb 2021

Coventry City council is considering dramatic moves to limit the numbers of houses in multiple occupation.

A public consultation is being planned this summer in Coventry to change rules which at present enables landlords and property developers to turn some residential properties into HMOs without planning permission.

The proposal, called an Article 4 Direction, would place restrictions on residential property conversions in areas which already have high levels of HMOs. All HMO conversions would need planning approval if the Article 4 is implemented.

Article 4 Directions, which remove permitted development rights in specific areas so anyone wanting to change the use of a property or make alterations would need to apply for planning permission, are not new. 

They came into existence under Section 4 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to limit development within National Parks and safeguard Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

However, they have become increasingly used by councils to try to control the spread of HMOs.

Coventry councillor David Welsh says: “We want to manage the development of HMOs and there are areas of the city where we need to have the ability to control their numbers.

“Housing developments must meet housing need in the city and that’s good quality affordable homes that serve all of our residents delivering the right amount of open space including areas for play and recreation, and that have a positive impact on our neighbourhoods.”

Coventry already has an additional licensing scheme in place to “allegedly” improve the management and condition of HMOs. (Though we all know its really only about revenue generation and they don’t actually care about tenants health and safety at all.)

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