10 Critical Reasons Your HMO Conversion Planning Permission Could Be Rejected: Don’t Apply Without Learning These!

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Investing in an HMO property can be a lucrative opportunity, but getting planning permission is a crucial step that can make or break your investment. If your HMO application proposal is rejected, it can lead to financial losses and disrupt your investment plans. That’s why it’s essential to consider all the reasons why your application could be rejected by the local planning authority (LPA). As Homz UK, we are working as an HMO agent and planning consultants having completed more than 750 projects in the UK nationwide, we offer wide expertise in planning and licencing paperwork for your applications; reach out to us today and let’s get your process started!

Have you already checked with your LPA if your property falls within the Conservation area or if Article 4 Direction is being implemented? Every council has different policies for HMO planning applications. If your property is in a Conservation Area or your council operates Article 4 then your permitted development rights are removed concerning conversions to houses in multiple occupation. It’s best if you check the prerequisites before you invest, contact us to get professional advice. We have briefly explained the most critical points to take whilst you are planning to apply for HMO planning application or HMO Licencing in the UK on our HMO Planning Permission page on our website

We’ve completed hundreds of successful HMO conversion projects, including Article 4 Direction area and Conservation Area throughout the UK. In this article, we’ll discuss the top ten common reasons for HMO rejection in planning permission and how architects can help you avoid unnecessary setbacks. 

Keep reading to learn more!

  1. HMO Density Rate in the Surrounding Area: 

The recent surge in HMOs has prompted councils to take action by introducing new rules and regulations. For example, In the UK, it is currently permissible to convert a single dwelling house into a small HMO (C3 to C4 planning permission) shared by three to six unrelated residents without planning permission. However, the local planning authority has the power to refuse the planning permission if there is strong evidence such as the loss of a family house to justify it. This is achieved through an Article 4 direction under the Town and Country Planning (Permitted Development), which enables the authority to regulate land use and protect the interests of the community. When considering HMO planning applications, the local council takes into account the density of nearby HMOs. If there are already a high number of HMOs in the area, the likelihood of rejection increases. Therefore, it is important to conduct a thorough survey of the area and ensure that your property meets all requirements and complies with regulations.

  1. Importance of Being in a Listed Building, Conservation Area and Article 4 Direction: 

If your HMO property is located in a Listed Building, Conservation Area and Article 4 Direction, there may be additional requirements you need to comply with before your application is approved. In this case, your permitted development rights are removed and the council might be requesting additional Specialist Reports and Assessments to be submitted alongside your application documents. Many DIY planning applications fail due to a lack of substantial supporting documentation, so if you don’t want to lose time and money it’s best to work with the professionals to get your HMO planning consent and HMO Licence. We are working as an HMO agent with having completed more than 750 projects in the UK nationwide, we offer wide expertise in planning and licencing paperwork for your applications. 

  1. Decisions and Requirements of the Local Municipality for the HMO: 

Renting out a property as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) can be a profitable venture for landlords. However, it is essential to bear in mind that there are specific requirements and restrictions set by councils that must be strictly adhered to. These requirements may vary from one area to another and are mandatory for obtaining planning permission. For instance, the HMO must meet certain standards. Failing to comply with rules can lead to hefty fines or legal action, which can be a nightmare for landlords. Therefore, it is crucial to conduct thorough research and seek professional help to ensure that the HMO property operates within the legal framework. Ultimately, working with professionals is the key to meeting all the requirements and ensuring a successful HMO venture.

  1. HMO Space Standards: 

Your HMO property must meet certain technical space standards, such as room sizes, square meters, and common area requirements per person. For example; any part of the room where the height is under 1.5 m cannot be counted, so if your property has bedrooms under the slope of the roof, check the sizes carefully to make sure you’re legally able to let them. It is important to note that regulations regarding HMO space standards may differ from one council to another. Furthermore, the space requirements may also vary depending on the number of occupants on the property. Therefore, seeking the guidance of professionals is highly recommended to ensure that your HMO plans comply with the applicable regulations. Our architects will guide you on how to maximise the space and generate the best layout with their vast knowledge to increase the ROI of your HMO investment. 

In a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO), the communal areas refer to the shared spaces such as the sitting room, dining room or area, utility rooms, and larger bedrooms with sofas. The size of these communal spaces should be determined based on the number of tenants residing in the property. If there are more tenants, then larger communal areas are required to ensure adequate space for everyone. Both the size of the kitchen and bathrooms will depend on the number of tenants living on the property. Our qualified architects will take you step-by-step to ensure your property complies with the standards.


Table: UK Technical housing standards, Department for Communities and Local Government, 2015.

  1. Too Many HMO Rooms Offered Relative to Capacity: 

When applying for an HMO property, it’s important to ensure that the appropriate number of rooms are available to meet the required capacity. The local council will assess your property’s capacity and compare it to the number of rooms you offer. There are certain rules regarding minimum gross internal floor areas and number of rooms that may vary from council to council. If the number of rooms is too high, your application may be rejected. To ensure your HMO plans meet these rules, it’s best to work with talented architects who can help make sure your application is approved.


  1. Proximity to Public Transportation Facilities:

 For regions like London, the proximity of your HMO property to public transportation facilities is an essential consideration. Ensure that your property is located near public transport to avoid your application being rejected. It’s essential to consider the needs of your potential tenants and provide them with convenient transportation options. This will also make your HMO investment lucrative and sustainable.

  1. Availability of Car and Bicycle Parking Spaces: 

The local council will assess the availability of car and cycle parking for your HMO property and rules may vary depending on the council. For example; As per London Plan policy T5, HMOs are required to provide cycle parking spaces for their residents and visitors. The policy mandates one long-stay space per occupant and two spaces for visitors if the HMO has five or more residents. Moreover, the quality of the cycle parking provision must meet the latest London Cycling Design Standards. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that your HMO property meets the necessary cycle and car parking standards to avoid any legal implications.

  1. Garbage and Recycling: 

In recent years, councils have significantly tightened regulations surrounding waste management and recycling. These regulations are now much stricter and more detailed, and failure to comply with them can result in a high likelihood of rejection. This is particularly pertinent for those who own HMOs, where deficiencies in waste management can be a major issue. 

To ensure compliance, all waste receptacles must be contained within an attractively designed shelter that is suitable for both storage and collection. In addition, these receptacles must be easily accessible to both residents and waste collection services. Compliance with local waste authority guidelines is also essential. By following these regulations, HMO owners can help ensure the sustainability of their properties and avoid potential fines or rejection.

  1. The Importance of Being in a Flood Risk Area or Not:

If you are planning to apply for planning permission for a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) property, it is important to note that if it is located in a flood risk area, your application may be rejected. To avoid the disappointment of having your application turned down, it is essential to be aware of this issue and seek guidance from professionals. Keep in mind that different councils may have varying practices and requirements for properties situated in special areas. To increase your chances of success, make sure to obtain the right professional advice before submitting your HMO planning application.

  1. The Tenant Typology You Suggest Does Not Fit with the Area: 

As the density of HMOs (houses of multiple occupation) continues to increase, councils are taking action to regulate them. One such measure involves paying close attention to the types of tenants proposed in HMO applications and their environmental compatibility. If the council determines that the tenant typology you propose does not align with the area, your application may be rejected. Therefore, it is crucial to conduct thorough research of the area and ensure that your tenant typology is suitable for the location. To achieve this, working with experienced planners can help you provide the correct evaluation criteria and prepare the appropriate application file. Ultimately, understanding the needs of the local community and providing suitable accommodation to potential tenants is essential in this process.

Penalties for Operating an HMO Property Without a License: What You Need to Know

Keep in mind that failing to obtain the necessary licence for your HMO or violating any of the licence conditions can result in severe consequences.

  • If the local council conducts an inspection and discovers any issues, you could face a hefty fine of up to £30,000 without any court proceedings. 
  • Moreover, you may be slapped with a Rent Repayment Order, which means you’d have to give back up to a year’s rent to your tenant. 
  • Worst of all, you may even receive a banning order that prohibits you from renting out properties altogether.

So, make sure you obtain the required licence and adhere to all the licence conditions to avoid facing these harsh penalties.

Experience the Ultimate HMO Success with Homz UK: Let Us Guide You Through the Planning Process with Our Unique Expertise and Proven Project History

At Homz, we kickstart your HMO project journey very seriously. That’s why we start your HMO journey with our initial planning feasibility checks with our Professional Planning Appraisal service. We leave no stone unturned as we identify potential obstacles and opportunities and assess the feasibility of your proposal. Our team dives deep into local planning policies to ensure that we’re always one step ahead of potential planning considerations. Armed with these valuable insights, we’re confident that we can tackle almost any obstacle that comes our way. Please visit our Portfolio page to see some of our works and what kind of documents you need for the planning applications.

So, why wait? Reach out to us today and let’s start your journey to HMO success. We can’t wait to hear from you!


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