Lambeth explores additional Planning Controls on HMOs in Streatham

31 October 2023

Written by: Lambeth Council

News and announcements

The council is considering additional HMO planning controls, due to anti-social behaviour and other issues Streatham Common & Vale and Streatham St Leonard’s.

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Lambeth explores additional Planning Controls on HMOs in Streatham

Concerns have been raised by local residents in relation to the recent increase in Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in two of Lambeth’s wards – Streatham Common & Vale and Streatham St Leonard’s. The concerns are related to anti-social behaviour, loss of family homes, and impact on the character of the area(s).

Due to the large numbers of HMOs in these wards and the concerns raised, the Council is currently considering additional planning controls in these two wards to address the concerns residents have raised and better manage and control the creation of new HMOs in the future.

A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is a dwelling that is occupied by three or more unrelated individuals who share amenities such as a kitchen or a bathroom. A ‘small HMO’ has between three and six occupiers and a ‘large HMO’ has more than six occupiers.

At present, a change of use from a standard residential property to a ‘small HMO’ does not need planning permission from the Council, as this is considered permitted development under national government planning legislation. This means the Council currently has no powers to prevent conversions of properties into small HMOs. The change of use of a standard residential property to a ‘large HMO’ requires planning permission.

The proposed additional planning controls for ‘small HMOs’, in the form of an ‘Article 4 Direction’, would make planning permission necessary for the creation of any new ‘small HMOs’ in the two affected wards in the future. When assessing such planning applications, the Council would be able to consider matters such as local amenities and the quality of the proposed accommodation.

The decision will be considered by Cllr Danny Adilypour, cabinet member for Sustainable Growth and New Homes, in November 2023.  Should it be decided to proceed with an Article 4 Direction, a statutory process will then need to be followed, which includes a public consultation and referral of the case for government review.  Should the ‘Article 4 Direction’ be approved in November, within six months of this date, having considered all the representations received during the consultation and referral process, a decision would then need to be made on whether to ‘confirm’ the Direction and make it permanent.