Important, post 25th February 2016 permitted development rights for small HMO’s in Cardiff and across Wales are no longer in place. This means you can no longer change a property use class from C3 Dwelling Houses to C4 House in Multiple Occupation small shared houses occupied by between three and six unrelated individuals, as their only or main residence, who share basic amenities such as a kitchen or bathroom.
What does this mean for property professionals in Cardiff and Wales looking to invest in HMO’s? Unless the property you are looking to purchase can demonstrate historical use as a HMO then you must pay £380 for a planning application and gamble on it being granted, which could be a risky strategy!
If you are planning on converting a family home (C3 use class) into a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) in Cardiff or anywhere in Wales then we would advise investors to obtain outline planning permission or a Certificate of Lawful Planned Use or Development before investing substantial funds.
What is a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)? According to the Government’s directgov.co.uk
“A property is a HMO if it is let as a main or only home to at least three tenants, who form more than one household and who share a kitchen, bathroom or toilet.”
A household can consist of a single person, couple, couple with children, relatives living together (including step-children, grandchildren, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, cousins and foster children). It can also include carers, nanny, and au pairs.
HMOs can be contained in a house, flat or other converted building, they could also be purpose built or places like guest houses that are let out during the closed season or hostels. Bedsits which share kitchens and bathrooms also qualify as HMOs.
If you are in doubt whether the property you own is a HMO it is best to contact your local council to discuss the accommodation and to get an opinion on whether it does need to be classified as an HMO.
Find out more about HMOs from Shelter.
In certain circumstances a HMO must be licensed by the local authority and this can fall into two classification of licensing:
- Mandatory Licensing
- Additional Licensing
Mandatory HMO Licensing
This is set in stone if you have a HMO set over 3 or more stories and has 5 or more tenants then you need a Mandatory HMO License
Additional HMO Licensing
Additional HMO Licensing is governed by your local council and at present in Cardiff the additional licensing scheme is running throughout the Cathays Community Ward. Also be aware that The Cardiff Council Executive has agreed to go to consultation on extending the Additional HMO Licensing scheme to the wards of Gabalfa and Plasnewydd.