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Planning Changes For Houses In Multiple Occupation

The Council has introduced a borough-wide Article 4 Direction restricting Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs). The Direction will come into force on 24 September 2017 and after this date planning permission will be required.

An Article 4 Direction removes the former ‘Permitted Development’ rights for the change of use from a dwelling house to a small HMO.

The introduction of the Direction will make it easier for the Council to monitor the number of HMOs and to grant or refuse permission for them.

Leader of the London Borough of Bexley, Cllr Teresa O'Neill OBE said; "The results of our public consultation made it clear to us that we needed to officially confirm the Article 4 Direction.

“We have no doubt that the majority of landlords ensure that their dwellings meet all the required planning regulations, so that their tenants are safe and that they are in an area with the necessary services. However, there are a small minority that made the most of the previous system and were found to overcrowd their properties or to develop them in an area without the necessary infrastructure.

“By introducing this Direction we will be able to protect residents in HMOs, our landlords and the local community.”

Consultation on the introduction of an Article 4 Direction took place last year in response to growing issues around small HMOs in the borough. As part of the process, the Council formally made a non-immediate Article 4 Direction in September 2016.

A copy of the Article 4 Direction and supporting map can be viewed online at

The Article 4 Direction is part of the borough’s co-ordinated approach to manage HMOs which includes the development of a new local licensing scheme. The Council will shortly start a separate consultation on the proposed local licensing scheme.