Another London local authority is proposing to insist HMOs require planning permission in future.
Currently in Croydon multi-bedroom properties can be converted to small HMOs - houses occupied by between three and six unrelated individuals - under permitted development; but both want that to change.
From January 2020, Croydon council plans to introduce an Article 4 Direction, the planning restriction which would require owners to seek permission for the change.
Croydon council’s consultation on the process closes on Friday March 8 and says the proposal is based on the authority’s desire to “protect family homes by requiring planning permission to convert properties into houses of multiple occupation.”
The authority says research has identified a shortage of family homes in the borough and over the past 10 years, Croydon has lost hundreds of such properties to conversion into HMOs.
Alison Butler, cabinet member for homes and gateway services, says: “For some time we have been concerned by the rapid decline in multi-bedroom homes in the borough, particularly given the acute housing need and people’s inability to access affordable home ownership.
“It is clear it is becoming more and more important to protect family homes in Croydon. While we recognise the need for HMOs, we can already see that in some parts of the borough there are just too many HMOs in a small area for the local infrastructure to cope.
“This Article 4 Direction will enable us to ensure we have a supply of decent housing for Croydon families to live in, as well as giving our residents moving into newly converted HMOs reassurance around basic rights, such as space requirements.”