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Stricter planning controls could be introduced to better regulate smaller HMOs

09 February 2023

Peterborough City Council could soon change its planning laws to better regulate smaller Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO) in areas of the city.

Councillors will consider this at a Cabinet meeting on Monday (13 February) and if given the go-ahead, an application would be made to the Government’s Secretary Of State to ask for permission to introduce a trial of an Article 4 Direction.

At present, an HMO only requires planning consent when there are six or more unrelated adults living there.

The introduction of an Article 4 would mean that smaller HMOs - with three to six unrelated adults - would also be required to apply for planning consent from the city council. Smaller HMOs are unregulated at the moment, which means living standards, such as parking, bin storage and noise are not considered.

It would apply to smaller HMOs that are created after an Article 4 comes into force. Those already in existence prior to the Article 4 would not need to apply for permission - an application for a Lawful Development Certificate (LDC) can be made now, to prove this.

Hampton, Fletton and Woodston and Park areas have been chosen for the trial, following a public consultation that took place last year indicating potential issues in these areas. In addition, Fletton and Woodston and Park areas are located close to the university and colleges where HMOs are more likely to be found.

Councillor Marco Cereste, cabinet member for climate change, planning, housing and transport at Peterborough City Council, said: “HMOs have their place in any city as a low-cost form of accommodation for residents. We are looking to better regulate all HMOs, including smaller ones, so we know where they are located in the city and can make sure that any issues arising from high density living – either for residents themselves or their neighbours – can be dealt with swiftly.”

If a trial is agreed and it is successful, it could be extended to other areas of the city.