Little publicised, but nonetheless important for many private landlords, are changes implemented by the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) (Amendment) (England) Order 2010, which mean that, in certain circumstances, a landlord wishing to let out a property as a house in multiple occupation may need to seek planning permission before doing so.
The main effects of the new Use Classes Order are to amend Class C3, which until the change included all houses that are occupied by up to six persons not living together as a household, and to specify classes of use for which planning permission is not required.
Class C3 has now been subdivided into three classes:
Class C3(a) is a single family household. In this case, there is no limit to the number of persons who can occupy the property;
Class C3(b) applies to those living together as a household and receiving care. In this case, the occupancy limit before planning approval is needed is limited to six people; and
Class C3(c), which includes those living together as a household and not within class C4.
Class C4 relates to houses in multiple occupation which are occupied by between three and six people who share basic amenities such as a kitchen or bathrooms. It specifically includes bed-sit properties.
Planning permission is not required for a change of use from Class 4 to Class 3, but will be required for a change from Class 3 to Class 4.