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3 bed HMO, Article 4 area, and Local License

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Ok, bear with me...

I'm buying a 3 bed flat which has been let for a long time by the vendor (around 15 years I think, since new build) to students on (I guess) a single AST.;

  • It's an article 4 area, and I'm pretty sure the vendor never bothered with planning for c4 when the area moved to article 4 around 10 years ago.
  • Area also has local HMO license rules, that state that 3 bed or more needs a license.  Totally on the case with that, I understand the process, and the reasons behind it (i.e: money grabbing council! :D). Even if I end up with a family living there, I'll get the license to give flexibility, I want to open the property to a wide market (families, groups on a single ast, I don't want a full-on 'by the room' HMO).


So, my question;  While I understand the need for HMO Planning, and even for Article 4.... is it relevant here?  Changes to the fabric of the building required = none.  All of the work that you'd associate with HMO license has been done  (fire doors, alarms, etc).  So I'd be applying for Planning Permission for 3 people to live there on a single AST, which they've always done, and which the building is clearly made for.


Does the fact that it's been rented to a group "forming 3 households" for so long, help at all?

With thanks, 


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Change of Use is not linked to the level of work (is any).  It is a separate obligation. 

I would suggest the existing unlicensed use would be unlikely to support your case; article 4 is brought in the control / stop these.  If you demonstrate quality of accommodation, trouble free previous use with supporting neighbours statements, this may help. 

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