HMOs and planning permission

This Page was last updated: 17 November 2023

If you are converting a residential house into a HMO that lies within one of the eleven wards (see list below) included within the HMO Article 4 designated area, you will need to apply for change of use.

Planning permission will also be required in the following circumstances:

  • The HMO will have seven or more tenants
  • You are putting cooking facilities in individual lets
  • the property has restrictive planning conditions prohibiting such a change.

Additionally, if you want to add more tenants to an HMO and the new number of tenants will be seven or greater, you will also need to make a change of use application.

If you are doing additional work in order to make the house HMO ready – for example, adding an extension or a new dormer – then planning permission may also be required. See the Planning Portal website for more information. 

If you are converting a building that was not previously a residential house into an HMO, you may also require a change of use – see the Planning Portal for more information.

See any current planning applications and submit comments.

Building Work

If you are adding an extension or a new dormer then like for any dwelling, planning permission may be required. See the Planning Portal website for more information.

Article 4

From 30th September 2023, if you change a property occupied by a single household, or a maximum of two people, to an HMO, you’ll need to apply for planning permission.

A family home (one household), or a property occupied by a maximum of two people, is known as Planning Use Class C3. A HMO is known as Planning Use Class C4. The legal definition of C4 is provided by section 254 of the Housing Act 2004. Converted blocks of self-contained flats are not included in the definition (section 257). 

To move from C3 to C4 will require planning permission in certain wards of Coventry. The Wards are: Cheylesmore, Earlsdon, Foleshill, Lower Stoke, Radford, St. Michael's, Sherbourne, Wainbody, Whoberley, Westwood and Upper Stoke. You can enter your property postcode here to find out which ward it’s in.

C4 means HMOs occupied by three to six people. HMOs occupied by seven or more people is known as Sui Generis and have always needed planning permission when changing from C3. You will also need planning permission if you’re moving from C4 to Sui Generis. The rules on seven-person Sui Generis Use Class apply city-wide.

Properties that were already in lawful use as HMOs with fewer than seven tenants before the direction came into effect will not need to make a planning application.  However, if such a property ceases to be used as an HMO (for example, if it is rented to a single family) then a change of use planning application will need to be made to bring the property back into use as an HMO.

The Article 4 direction has no bearing on existing HMO licences, or on future HMO licences for properties that were HMOs prior to the designation. However, if we determine that a property is operating as an HMO without the benefit of the correct planning permission, we will only issue a one-year licence for that property, and will include a condition requiring that the correct permission is sought. Please note that this is not a guarantee that planning permission will be granted.

In addition, where a property is found to be operating without the correct planning permission, the Planning Enforcement team may take legal action against the owner.

The Property Licensing Team is not able to provide any further information or answer any queries about the Article 4 designation. Please direct any queries to the Planning Policy team.  For further information about how planning applications for HMOs will be assessed, please see Planning Policy’s HMO Development Plan.

HMO licensing

Address: PO Box 15
Council House
Earl Street

Telephone: 024 7697 5467

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