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Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) Supplementary Planning Document (SPD): public consultation

HMO developers, landlords and owners: what this means for you

This new Draft SPD contains a number of updates which will affect how we treat applications related to HMOs.

The types of application we will assess using this SPD will be:

  • Conversion of properties from residential use (C3) to standard HMO (C4) or large HMO (sui generis)
  • New build HMOs
  • Conversion of properties from commercial use (Class E) to any type of HMO (C4 or sui generis)
  • Intensification of a standard HMO (C4) to a large HMO (sui generis)

There are two sets of measures and requirements that applications will need to meet: those relating to concentration and location of proposals, and standards relating to the quality and energy efficiency of the accommodation provided.

Select a topic below for more detail.

HMO concentration threshold

The HMO concentration threshold used to assess planning applications remains at 10%. Additional guidance is provided to confirm that where an application would tip the threshold to 10% or more, it would be refused.

Sandwich test

The sandwich test set out in the 2017 HMO SPD does not provide guidance on assessing planning applications related to flatted developments. The revised SPD includes additional guidance on how to assess flatted developments when carrying out the sandwich test.

The SPD also includes a clause which allows an applicant to provide evidence of mitigation or circumstantial evidence (such as sound insulation measures or existing ambient noise) to show that the sandwich test need not be applied, or is not relevant to certain flatted developments.

Census output area test

The census output area test used to assess planning applications in the 2017 HMO SPD has been removed. The census output area test was included previously due to the lack of publicly available HMO mapping. As this data is now publicly available, the census output area test has been removed, to simplify the test process and ensure all applications are tested using the same assessments.

100m radius test

The 100m radius test set out in the 2017 HMO SPD required the concentration of HMOs within close proximity of an application site to be assessed by drawing a 100m radius from the central point of the application property. Properties on the edge of the 100m radius were only included if their central point (as defined by LLPG) is within the radius.

Based on the results of scenario testing and discussions relating to usability of the test, the 100m radius test has been updated to include any property which has any part of its site boundary within the radius. This removes ambiguity, in relation to where the central point of a property falls.  

Guidance relating to how flatted developments are counted within the test has also been added.

Providing a good standard of accommodation

Additional guidance relating to providing a good standard of accommodation has been included within the SPD, in order to support amended LPPU policy H2, once it is adopted. The guidance includes information on Energy Performance Certificates and exemptions, bedroom size standards, noise reduction measures and ventilation.

Application submission requirements

The list of planning application submission requirements has been updated to include a Site Location Plan and an EPC Certificate C (or evidence of exemption).