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Council sent me a contravention notice

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Here's my take on this:

For more than 6 (sui generis), you would need planning permission whatever happens/ has happened in the past. So if you want to rent out to more than 6 people, you would need to put in an application (which you may or may not get).

For up to 6 - you should apply for an ammendment to your licence - you must have applied for 9 (there will probably have been a specific question on the application) - and ensure that your licence is upto a maximum of 6 people. This avoids the sui generis issue totally.

As regards Article 4, as far as I'm aware, any property that was operating as a HMO before the Directive was implemented, is not affected - although the local authority may well ask for evidence that it has been operating as a HMO beforehand - it sounds like you'd have no problem proving this.

So, I'd say reduce occupancy to 6, amend your licence (there will probably be a fee for this), and tell the planning dept that you no longer need sui generis, and can prove how long it has been operating as an hmo before the directive.

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