The London Borough of Croydon is proposing to introduce an order that would require planning permission for the conversion of properties into houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) in an effort to protect family homes across south London.

A house in multiple occupation (HMO) can be a:

  • house divided into bedsits with a shared kitchen and/or bathroom
  • shared house where the tenants do not occupy it as a typical family would
  • house converted into self-contained flats
  • hotel or accommodation being used as a hostel to house a group of people with a common need, usually on a short term basis e.g. homeless persons, unaccompanied minors, asylum seekers, ex-offenders, semi-independent living schemes etc.

At present you can convert multi-bedroom properties to HMOs under permitted development rights which were introduced in 2010. However, Croydon Council are proposing to instate an Article 4(1) Direction to remove this right, meaning owners will have to apply for full planning permission to do so.

Croydon Council have launched a consultation from 24 January 2019 – 8 March 2019 to stop the conversion in certain areas of the Borough. This consultation will run for a 6 week period and will invite the public to comment on the proposed Article 4(1) Direction.

Alison Butler, cabinet member for homes and gateway services at the authority said “For some time, we have been concerned by the rapid decline in multi-bedroom homes in the borough, particularly given the acute housing need and people’s inability to access affordable home ownership.”

Croydon Council are hoping this will combat the issue of having too many HMOs in a small area and exercise more control over the conversion of multi-bedroom houses in the future, ensuring they meet better standards. If approved the borough-wide Article 4(1) Direction should come into force in January 2020.

29 January 2019