university petition

29 Apr 24

New changes to planning rules mean rogue landlords who illegally convert HMOs could face an unlimited fine.

As part of the government’s Levelling-up and Regeneration Act, local councils will be better able to hold property developers who repeatedly fail to comply with planning permission to account, as well as those who refuse to deal with run-down properties.

Anyone failing to build in the right place will also face unlimited fines, while the rules make it harder for rulebreakers to seek future planning permission.

Enforcement limits will be increased from four to 10 years so councils have more time to stop developments without planning approval, and temporary stop notices will be doubled to 56 days to suspend all works if a council suspects building has gone ahead despite permission not being granted.

Enforcement action

A Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities spokeswoman says: “Enforcement action can be taken against any breach of planning rules so could include a change of use to an HMO without seeking permission.

“Local councils can use enforcement powers such as a Section 215, asking a property owner to clean up land, which could apply to landlords owning poorly maintained properties – but it’s up to the individual council to decide when and how they use this power.”

Less bureaucratic

Minister for Housing and Planning, Lee Rowley, says the change is an important step towards delivering a faster and less bureaucratic planning system, making sure councils have greater powers at their disposal to take robust action against developers who do not play by the rules.

“We are clamping down on planning loopholes, allowing councils to issue unlimited fines, and strengthening local decisions that communities want to see,” he adds.

“This builds on our long-term plan for housing to deliver more homes and infrastructure that is beautiful, affordable, and built in the right places.”

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