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EXPERT: Number of councils seeking to stop HMO conversions is on the rise

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More councils are set to introduce Article 4 directions in a bid to clamp down on HMO development, with six currently waiting for approval.

There are already about 45 local authorities in England partly or entirely affected by Article 4 '� which means planning permission is needed for the change of use to any size HMO '� according to Platinum Property Partners.

Bristol is the latest city to introduce them in Stoke Park and Cheswick and parts of Filton following a public consultation which was overwhelmingly in favour.

The property investment franchise firm believes councils' increasing use of them could start to impact the quality of HMOs, as they do little to address concerns relating to low standard HMOs.


Mahsa Khaneghah (main image), head of planning and sustainability explains: 'The costs associated with a planning application such as instructing an architect, planning consultant and submission fees, as well as the uncertainty of approval may dissuade landlords who take compliance seriously from creating HMOs at all.

"Thus, allowing substandard quality or unlawful HMOs to flourish, reducing the overall accommodation quality standards.'�

While licensing can improve the quality and safety of HMOs, it would be good to see more from councils on using this investment to tackle substandard properties, adds MD Emma Hayes, who reckons they are still a good option for investors looking for a low-risk, long-term income strategy.

'HMOs are much more complex than the standard buy-to-let model but when done well the reward can be life-changing,'� she tells LandlordZONE.

Analysing and understanding your investment location is absolutely key, adds Hayes. 'There are a host of variables that may reduce the viability of HMOs in any given area, these range from the cost of property to planning restrictions so thorough due diligence is always highly recommended.'�

Read: The complete guide to running an HMO.


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