The government is currently consulting people on the planning laws relating to houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).

The consultation follows last year’s commission that reviewed the current position on HMOs.  This review recommended that people should be consulted on possible new legislation on HMOs.

This subject will be important to the many Liberal Democrat councillors and campaigners who are working in student areas, seaside towns and those populated by young people sharing houses.  The review is suggesting three possible causes of action:

Option 1 is to rely on existing ‘good practice’ from councils around the country.

Option 2 is to change the Use Classes Order, so that HMOs need planning permission and therefore go through the usual planning procedures to decide whether each application is appropriate.

Option 3 is a proposal to allow HMOs anywhere at all – except where the government agrees to give special powers to councils in limited areas (Article 4 Directions).

The deadline for comments is 7th August and you can find out more on the Department for Communities and Local Government website.

Thank you to Cllr Sharon Ball of Bath & North East Somerset Council for her blog post that alerted us to this important consultation.

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