15 November 2010 by Sonal Ghelani

Houses of Multiple Occupation

If you are a Landlord of a house which you let out to up to six tenants, then you should be aware that the law has changed from 1 October 2010, as you no longer need to apply for planning permission for a change of use from a dwelling house to a small HMO (House of Multiple Occupation).

Under the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended) a new use class was created on 6 April 2010 for HMOs. This is known as use class C4 Small HMO and was introduced to allow local authorities more control over multi-tenanted houses to control problems such as increased noise and parking problems. This class is for a property where between three and six people are living together in two or more households sharing basic amenities such as the bathroom and kitchen. Use class C3 is for a dwellinghouse being a house used by a single household.

The present government considers it unnecessary to apply for planning permission for all changes of use from C3 to C4 as this is costly and time consuming for both landlords and local authorities.

Instead local authorities that wish to retain control over multi-tenanted houses in a specific area can apply Article 4 Directions. Article 4 Directions are issued by the Council in circumstances where specific control over development is required, primarily where the character of an area of acknowledged importance would be threatened. They are therefore more commonly applied to conservation areas. Therefore unless there is an Article 4 Direction in place in relation to a particular area, it is assumed that no planning permission is required. Planning permission will still be required for HMOs of more than six people

If you are unsure of this as a landlord, you should check with the planning department of your local authority to see whether an Article 4 Direction applies to your local area.

28 October 2010 by Sonal Ghelani

I am monarch of all I survey; my right there is none to dispute….

You will be familiar with the expression ‘let the buyer beware’ or for the Latin minded, ‘caveat emptor’. In short, this means that it is for a purchaser to ensure that the property they are buying has no physical defects and is structurally sound.

5 November 2010 by

Duty Bound

The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in this year’s budget that VAT will increase from the present rate of 17.5% to 20% with effect from 4 January 2011.

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