A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is a property that is shared by three or more tenants who are not living together as a family and who share basic amenities such as a kitchen, bathroom or toilet facilities but have separate bedrooms.

Some aspects of HMOs are governed by the planning system, others by the Housing Service.

Do I need planning permission for an HMO?

If the property is in Loughborough and has three or more unrelated tenants, or outside Loughborough and has more than six unrelated tenants then you will need planning permission for an HMO.

Usually, a family home will have permitted development rights that allow for a change of use to an HMO occupied by three to six unrelated people without the need for planning permission, and vice versa. However, in 2011 we removed rights across Loughborough for the change of use from a family dwelling to an HMO.

This planning control, which is called an Article 4 Direction, means that any change of use from a family dwelling in Loughborough to an HMO after February 12, 2012, will always require planning permission.

An HMO with more than six unrelated people sharing is deemed to be a ‘Large HMO’ and will always require planning permission, whether in Loughborough or elsewhere.

HMOs occupied by five or more tenants will also require an additional mandatory licence from the council. 

Frequently asked questions

What if an existing HMO is left vacant for a period?

If a property that is in HMO use is left empty it would continue to be classed as an HMO unless, when it is re-occupied, it is used by a family or less than three unrelated individuals or as a different use entirely such as an office.

What if an existing HMO is let to a family for a period?

If an existing HMO is let to a family, the property would no longer be classed as an HMO.  If the owner of the property wanted it to be used as an HMO again, planning permission would be required first.

What if a three bed HMO is reduced to two because a tenant leaves the property unexpectedly e.g. a student leaves a course early?

Where periodic reductions in HMO numbers and the number of tenants within particular properties raise questions of their planning status, a degree of flexibility may be required. 

Each case will need to be considered on its merits having regard to the intent of the landlord and the principle of discontinuance. 

Charnwood Local Plan Core Strategy 2011 - 2028

The Charnwood Core Strategy sets out our policy CS4 to guide development involving HMOs (sections 5.26 to 5.32 explain the background to this). Other key policy considerations include:

Borough of Charnwood Local Plan Policy (January 2004)

The proposed Charnwood Local Plan 2021-37

  • Charnwood Local Plan 2021-37
  • Houses in Multiple Occupation Policy H6
  • Campus and Purpose-Built Student Accommodation Policy H8
  • Internal Space Standards Policy H3

Housing Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) 

  • The SPD was adopted in May 2017 and provides guidance on housing, including further guidance on houses in multiple occupation and campus & purpose-built student accommodation. 

You can read the document on the Housing Supplementary Planning Document webpage.

Last updated: Tue 23rd April, 2024 @ 11:37