What landlords need to know about permitted development


Trafford Council have brought in an “emergency” ban on permitted development in the region to prevent an overabundance of HMOs in the area, but what are landlords’ options when converting their properties for multiple occupation?

The council introduced the borough-wide ban – an Article 4 direction – on permitted development as a way of controlling the location and number of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) to “minimise any potential adverse effects on the local housing market” that could come from the high numbers of students potentially arriving at the proposed University Academy 92.

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) is opposing the ban, as it believes the legislation does not deal with the existing HMOs, and could cause the quality of the properties available to decrease. It states: “Once the quality of an area has started to decrease due to a high presence of HMOs, an Article 4 restriction is already too little too late.”

How does permitted development affect landlords?

In most areas across the UK, converting a normal, family home into one that is rented out to three or more unrelated people – which qualifies as an HMO – would signify a material change of use, which technically requires planning permission.

However, since October 2010, in England, this requirement has been offset by permitted development rights, meaning that properties can be changed from class 3 (family dwelling) to class 4 (HMO) without the need for permission.

Permitted development rights in general enable homeowners to improve or extend their properties without having to apply for planning permission “where that would be out of proportion with the impact of works carried out”. This has caused controversy recently as it has allowed developers to convert offices into residential flats without needing to go through the same processes as they would have to with other developments.

What is Article 4?

As is the case in the Trafford district, a local authority can impose an Article 4 direction, which removes permitted development rights in the area. This means that those wanting to convert a property for use as an HMO would need to apply for permission to make the change, and this can now result in a fee of £462 to be paid to the council.

The application for change of material use can still be rejected, because an Article 4 direction is often put in place when the local authority wants to restrict the number of HMOs in an area – often due to oversaturation.

According to the National Landlords Association (NLA), the fact that councils can now charge a fee if an Article 4 direction is in place could mean that local authorities might be incentivised to remove permitted development in order to gather more fees.

The association said: “The likely impact of the policy will be a further entrenchment of those properties that are already in shared usage; as if a landlord wishes to change the use where permitted development has been removed, even for a short period, and then convert back a fee will be applicable.”

Highgrove Mews

High Net Yield Freehold Houses

  • Commutable to London (27 mins to central Paddington station)
  • Rental demand extremely strong with large industry presence in Reading
  • Freehold with 4% net yield

£284,955 - £457,000

St Petersgate – Stockport Manchester

New Launch - Stockport Manchester, apartments from £160,000

  • Discounted launch prices from £160,000
  • Excellent transport links with 3 trains per hour to London Euston and only 9 mins journey to Manchester Piccadilly
  • Experienced development team

Assured Rent Housing Association Leases

Assured Rent Housing Association Leases

  • Assured rent & no rental voids
  • Tenant damage cover & newly refurbished inline with requirements of a corporate sitting tenant
  • Free property and lettings management

From £62,000

Emerging Birmingham Commuter Town With Properties From Just £104,000

The emerging Birmingham commuter town where properties are selling in an average of just 24 days

  • A collection of 62 two bedroom apartments and 28 one bedroom apartments.
  • DE14 is one of the fastest selling postcodes in the West Midlands.
  • 23 minute train journey into Birmingham New Street Station.

Properties from £104,000

Mill, Stockport

The Northwest's emerging property hotspot

  • Discounted off-plan 2-bed prices from £162,000
  • Completion date - Q4 2021
  • Rental yields - 6% plus

Discounted off-plan 2-bed prices from £162,000

South Central – Birmingham City Centre Apartments

Highly anticipated 28 storey launch in Birmingham City Centre with an impressive roof garden and communal facilities.

  • 154 units across 28 storeys
  • Residential multi-media community room, gym, roof garden and sky cinema
  • Excellent future connectivity via the metro system to other key transport hubs and locations around the city

from £205,800


Talk to us

Speak to our UK property experts today: 

+44 (0) 333 123 0320

Open from 9am-6pm GMT

+852 9865 4446

Open from 9am-6pm HKT

Stamp Duty Calculator


Unlock members only investment opportunities and full development details. Join now – it’s free, quick and easy.


Not a member? Sign up for free

What landlords need to know about permitted development

What landlords need to know about permitted development


By submitting your details via this online form you agree to be contacted via email/phone/SMS by Direct Marketplace Ltd t/a BuyAssociation in relation to property investment and property developments . We do not share your personal details with third parties.  To view our full Privacy Policy click here.