Appeal against a refusal of planning permission for the conversion of a building with 5 flats into a HMO

Appeal Allowed (Full Planning Permission Granted) on 28 March 2024

planning appeal

38 Kingsland Road,
CH42 9NW

Council: Wirral Council

It is becoming more and more difficult to get planning permission for houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) – councils are cracking down on them all over the country.

The introduction of Article 4 directions means that more and more of them need permission and, where permission is needed, councils are quick to refuse it, often acting very unreasonably!

In this case, our client had bought a house that was converted into 5 very poor quality flats. Rather than keep it as 5 flats, he wanted to completely renovate it in order to provide a high-quality HMO.

Wirral refused permission on the basis that the HMO would cause noise and disturbance affecting the neighbours and also that it would not provide future occupiers with good quality living accommodation.

This seemed to us to be a crazy assessment – surely the HMO could not be noisier that the 5 existing flats! The HMO was also going to provide far better accommodation than the flats.

Happily, the appeal inspector agreed with our analysis, pointing out that the HMO would be an improvement on the existing situation.

It did not help the council that their local plan is so considerably out of date – they are still making decisions based on the old Unitary Development Plan, or UDP, from 2000.

Converting a building into a HMO is a great way to increase its value and rental income, but all HMO landlords must now be aware of the risks of running into planning and enforcement problems.

Check out Martin Gaine’s book, Planning for HMOs, for a complete guide to HMOs and the planning system. The HMO pages on his website contain a wealth of useful information, including a HMO cheat sheet and a series of instructional videos.

For help with a planning appeal, contact our chartered town planners for some professional advice!

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