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Article 4 powers for council means tougher rules for HMOs

New regulations governing HMOs are coming into effect in a north of England council.

Landlords and developers will now need planning permission to convert properties into houses in multiple occupation in parts of the Wigan council area.

The policy will be enforced in Swinley and central Leigh - and according to the council, this is following residents’ feedback about the rising number of HMOs in those areas.


Previously, a change of use from a house to a large HMO of more than six people required planning permission, but a change of use to a small HMO for between three and six people did not.

Now the council has formally adopted an Article 4 direction, meaning HMOs of any size in those two locations will only be considered through the planning system.

A council spokesman says: “Historically, we have only been able to manage larger size HMOs, however, this new direction will give us more opportunities to manage the development and quality of HMOs in the two areas where they are most prevalent.”

There are currently 105 known HMOs in the borough and the main concentrations are in Swinley and central Leigh with 30 and 24, respectively.

The spokesman adds: “We appreciate that HMOs provide a form of low-cost, flexible housing, particularly for younger people and those on lower incomes, but there are concerns associated when the number of HMOs is increasing in a concentrated area. Such concerns include the impact on parking provision, excess noise, impact on the physical environment and changes to the character of a residential area.

“To ensure that future planning applications for HMOs provide quality accommodation, whilst mitigating the impact on existing residents, a supplementary planning document is also due to be created to aid developers and landlords, providing clear guidance on appropriate HMO accommodation standards.”

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    I just want to clarify some of the information in this article;

    Isn't a large HMO 5 or more people from 2 or more households?
    Did you need planning permission before this came into force to have a large HMO? Usually this is allocated under mandatory HMO licencing?

    Those are the national understanding, but I admit Wigan council may have had their own rules in force. Some clarification would be good, as the information is this article could potentially be wrong.


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