This isn’t a simple answer. Generally, the property owner will need planning permission to change the use from a single dwelling to a house of multiple occupancy however this is not always required. Small houses that will accommodate a single household, or two unrelated individuals (friends) living together as their main residence will not usually need planning permission. This would be considered as Class C3 (a family house) A HMO would be defined as Class C4 in planning classification terms. This is a shared property occupied by 3-6 unrelated individuals as their main residence. It is PD right to move between C3 and C4 classes and back without planning permission in most cases however Article 4 may apply. Larger HMOs would be classed as Sui Generis in planning terms. This is used where a property does not fit with a standard use class. The 7+ occupants HMO do need planning permission. A large HMO is defined as houses or flats which are occupied as a main residence by 7 or more unrelated people who share amenities such as communal kitchen and bathroom areas. It is wise to check with the local planning authority, as additional limitations and conditions may well apply. If the proposed change of use is found not to be within the permitted development scope, the owner could be required to reverse any work already undertaken, or apply for retrospective planning permission.


Article 4 of the General Permitted Development Order gives Local Planning Authorities the right to restrict some types of PD. The purpose behind the article 4 rule was always to protect the character of conservation areas. This is frequently used to restrict the number of HMOs within an area to stop a distinctive change in character from a mainly single-family residential area, into an area of high density, short-lived population. If you are in an Article 4 area then you will need permission to change from C3 to C4 or Sui Generis.

Does my property require an HMO licence?

Any property with 5 or more tenants (unrelated) needs to have a HMO licence. However you must check with your local council to understand if your property need licensing or not, some councils have different requirements. 

Building Regulations

As the property has been changed from a single family dwelling to a house in multiple occupation there is an increased risk from fire and potentially compromised escape routes. You to check that the property complies with building regulations and is fit for purpose. We can provide building control drawings.   

  HMO Design Guide 

Your property needs to comply with both building regulations and the HMO is subject to additional design guidance set out by your local council. For instance, the Building Regulations do not set out a minimum ceiling height, yet the National Space Standards would set this at 2.3m for a minimum of 75% of the total floor area.  Likewise the building regulations don’t outline minimum room sizes or total floor areas.  HMO owners must comply with the National Space standards.

  Do I need a licence for ny HMO?

  Larger houses in multiple occupation require a licence from the local council.  In certain areas Local Authorities can choose to implement ‘Selective Licensing’ for all rented      properties.  In these locations, all private landlords must obtain a license and failure to do so will most likely end in enforcement action by the council. The licenses apply to      each property, rather than the landlord.  Each property needs an individual licence, that’s even if the landlord is the same person. The large house would be able to         accommodate five or more tenants forming more than one household and sharing common facilities. The small house would accommodate three or four tenants. The   landlord is responsible for the licence and has a duty to maintain certain conditions of accommodation and responsibilities to the tenants. The council, in turn, has a duty t  o  enforce these standards and can take action against a landlord failing to comply with these terms and conditions. The licence will be issued for five years. 

  HAD & CO have a proven track record of designing HMO’s for planning, building control and national standards including in Article 4 areas and throughout the UK, see 
  some of our case studies below.

Salford HMO - Article 4 area

4 Nadine Street – 4 Bedroom terrace house into 5 bedroom HMO - Approved

This residential street lies near the heart of Salford.  The area sits between two busy highways leading into the Manchester’s city centre and further afield.  This heavily residential surrounds predominantly are made of Victorian terraced dwellings. The area is popular with young professionals and students as it close to the University of Salford and Manchester’s MediaCity UK. The proposed changes are based on converting the Victorian household into a 5-bedroom house of multiple occupation (HMO) with a communal living area and kitchen space.  The target market for the scheme was aimed at the growing population of young professionals and students seeking a cost-effective alternative to inner city accommodation.

Salford has a rich industrial heritage with many of the dwellings purposed to accommodate the work forces needed at the time. In such areas it was important to do research to find out the historical importance of the building  If it’s found to be listed or belonging to a conservation area the design approach will need to be sensitive to the guidelines given by English heritage as well as local polices and national framework. In this case 4 Nadine street was found to neither be listed or part of a conservation area. The house originally had a living room, dining room and a kitchen in a rear outrigger on the ground floor. The first floor consisted of the master bedroom, a smaller bedroom and the family bathroom on top of the kitchen outrigger. The top floor containing the final 2 bedrooms.

The proposal would alter the living space into a ground floor bedroom. The previous dining room would become the living room and the kitchen to the rear of the building would remain the same. These spaces would be communal and accessible by all the occupants. The first floor would have alterations to integrate the family bathroom into one of the bedrooms and act as its en-suite. The stairs were altered better utilise the space and additional room besides it for the en-suite for the other first floor room. The final 2 bedrooms located on the top floor would only see the addition of their en-suite with much of the original layout remaining the same. The generous sizes of this property allowed most of the bedrooms to be over 10m2, aiming to provide a modern, spacious and luxurious have place to reside for the occupants. While designing these spaces, great care was taken to make sure the proposed spaces met or exceed the minimum requirement Set by local planning policies and national space standards.

Great care was taken while designing these spaces to also make sure that much of the original structure of the building remain the same meaning it would be less work for the client too hard to consider at the construction phase. Additional documentation was also needed to support this proposal is parking in the area did not support the additional required spaces needed to support the HMO. A travel plan what is drafted outlining and analysing all the transport options available in the area and how the proposal would fit in with utilising those options. Sustainable methods of transport like cycling was very feasible for the proposal so great emphasis was made on my travel option with secure bike storage also being included in the proposal.

once  the approval was received detailed plans, elevations and sections were created as part of building regulation drawings needed for the construction phase of the project.

Keywords – HMO Salford, HMO planning permission, HAD Salford, HAD Manchester, Salford self-contained flats, Terraced conversion, Change of Use, Article 4 HMO

Link to drawings: https://www.hadmanchester.co.uk/hmoplanningpermission

Wigan 8 bed HMO/ 2 lower ground flats

Wigan Case Study

85 Bell Green Lane, Wigan, WN2 2EP

The building is located in a mostly residential part of East Wigan. The has a mixture of modern and period properties ranging from terraced to fully detached most of which are in newer housing developments. The proposed changes involved converting the large Victorian detached house into an 8 -bedroom HMO (housing of Multiple Occupation) with a communal living area and kitchen space. With the addition of a 2-bedroom apartment on the lower ground/basement floor. The site included parking spots, a garage and a rear garden that could be used by the occupants.

Wigan is an industrial town and many of the residential buildings were erected in the 19/20th century to support the influx of factory workers that arrived as the town developed. Although many of the original buildings in the area were brought down and redeveloped into new housing schemes or industrial estates the 85 Bell Green survived. Its presence on the street scene and architectural style pays homage to the history of the town. The house originally had living spaces, a reception room a kitchen dining room on the ground floor. The first floor consisted of the 3 large bedrooms, a family bathroom and a wc, with 2nd floor having an additional 2 unutilised rooms.

To maximise the vast amount of space the period property provided the client chose to create and apartment on the basement floor with the rest of the house being used for the HMO. The basement space was divided to create 2 en-suite bedrooms, one at the front and the other at the rear of the property. The rest of the space was split up to create the bathroom and kitchen /living space for the apartment. The rooms were strategically position near existing openings to allow the most amount of natural light to enter habitable spaces. Access to the apartment would be gained from the main corridor/lobby on the ground floor. 

For the HMO the reception room would be split up to create 2 en-suite bedrooms with the kitchen and living room remaining as existing. The kitchen and living room would be shared communal spaces for the HMO residents. Access to the rear garden would also be available through the kitchen. The first floor would have all the existing rooms turned into en-suite bedrooms, the existing bathroom and wc would be converted into the additional totalling the rooms on the floor to 4. The final 2 rooms on the top floor would also become en-suite rooms bring the total amount of bedrooms in the HMO rooms to 8. In the process of designing the layouts local planning policies and national space standards were referred to at all stages to ensure the rooms would meet the minimum requirements set.

The clients brief required us to preserve as much of the original fabric of the building as possible. No structural walls were altered in the design process and including any of the external walls. This meant the visual character of the building would remain unharmed and any the changes could easily be reversed in the future if the owner needed to.

Additional building regulation drawings were requested by the client after planning approval was received from the council. Building regulation drawings detail the proposal for contractors and builders to work form during the construction phase. These drawings are also required by building control officers to ensure the work carried out meets the national standards.

Keywords - Wigan HMO, Wigan apartments, Basement conversion, 8 bed HMO, Dethatched dwelling, change of use, en-suite rooms, 2 Bed apartments.

Single-detached house into an 8 en-suite bed HMO with a 2-bed apartment in the basement.

Link to drawings: https://www.hadmanchester.co.uk/hmoplanningpermission

St Matthews St 

HMO Conversion/Garage Conversion 

HAD & Co Property Consultants were called by their client to convert a three-bed gable-end corner property in St Matthew Street, Burnley into a HMO: a house of multiple occupation. The layout of the existing residential house included an attached garage, extended kitchen with utility and cellar storage space. Previously a retail corner shop, the old shop front had been covered internally by partition walls for the current residential use however there was no natural light in this space. Our client had recently purchased the property with a view to convert the building into a HMO with around 5 one-person bedrooms each with ensuites or private bathrooms as long as the space allowed.

HAD & Co completed the measured survey of the existing building in Burnley and drew up the floor plans and elevations ready to complete the clients design brief proposal of HMO conversion. The existing bedrooms on the first floor were large enough to meet the minimum space standards for HMO bedrooms as set out by Burnley Borough Council in their HMO standards document. This is a guidance document the council issue to guide those creating HMOs to ensure there is no over-crowding or insufficient space for people to share one house. These are based on national government standards and expanded where necessary to the Local Authority’s own preference. The existing bedroom spaces in this Burnley house also included enough space for each to hold its own ensuite by utilising the existing extra room off the rear bedroom and the central bathroom over the stairs. The first floor thus allowed for three bedrooms for the proposed HMO, with the living space and kitchen areas to be provided on the ground floor.

The Burnley property had a ground floor comprised of large reception rooms either side of the central entrance and staircase, the kitchen with extension leads off the side reception room and the extended utility room and separate singular WC also leads to the attached garage. The existing middle reception room, kitchen and utility allow for the shared space of living, dining area and kitchen for 5 people to share, leaving the garage and front reception room available for the other two required bedrooms. The garage would be converted to a habitable standard with the new windows in place of the up and over garage door to also double up as means of emergency exits so the occupant would not need to exit through inner rooms to escape during an emergency. The front reception room would also be given a new window to the front elevation where the previous shop-front would be removed and the building elevations here re-done so the property would now appear as a residential dwelling rather than an old closed retail shop. The natural light for this room would mean an easy conversion into a bedroom for the HMO, with inclusive ensuite to this new bedroom.

Minor internal physical changes to this Burnley property means the conversion will easily and quickly transform the three-bedroomed house into a House of Multiple Occupation. HMOs are sought after by students, young professionals and single people who are not currently looking to buy a house or for long-term rent of a whole house for themselves. Burnley currently has many employment opportunities for young workers and is currently expanding Burnley College and the University UCLAN (University of Central Lancashire) premises throughout the town offering more student places in the town centre. This opens up the housing market in Burnley for more variation of single people spaces and HMOs are the perfect choice for those looking to rent just a room and share the living spaces as they settle into life in Burnley on their own, whether for studying purposes or new employment.

HMOs in Burnley will require the property owner to have a HMO licence- HAD & Co Property Consultants can assist with these applications with a vast history in converting buildings to HMOs, completing planning applications and gaining Building Control approval for HMO conversions throughout Lancashire and the North of England. HMO licence applications not only need the floor plans to show that minimum space standards are met, the Fire Safety and Escape plans need to be carefully thought out prior to work commencing and prepared for ease of escape should there be an emergency situation in the building when occupied. Together with Travel Plans, HMO Management Plans and full Building Regulation drawings- HAD & Co can help with a HMO conversion from start to finish. A HMO licence application usually requires the above and confirmation that a suitable company or person will be in charge to manage the property and look after the maintenance and upkeep of the building ensuring the safety of those inhabiting the house. HAD & Co have a sister company HAD Property Group based in Burnley that can help in these areas and are available to manage HMOs and other rental properties in Burnley and surrounding Lancashire.

The Burnley property in St Matthew Street will now provide shared living accommodation for up to 5 unrelated individuals with enough shared living, dining and kitchen space for all and each bedroom having its own private bathroom too. The location of the HMO in Burnley has easy links to the town centre, shops and places to eat, employment opportunities and access to the local College and University. Suitable for people looking to rent just a bedroom, the private ensuites are a bonus that is a rare find in other Burnley HMOs. The friendly Burnley area of Rosegrove is mainly residential and entertainment venues such as leisure parks, the cinema and pubs and restaurants are all within walking distance. Public transport links are also nearby for trains and buses that go direct to nearby towns and cities such as Blackpool, Manchester and Leeds.

HAD & Co Property Consultants are here for all your HMO needs. Feasibility studies can be carried out prior to purchasing properties to ensure you are getting the most out of your investment. HAD & Co can carry out the following to ensure a successful HMO conversion:

  • Property measured surveys

  • HMO Feasibility Studies to see if suitable before purchase

  • Draw up existing floor plans and elevation drawings

  • Complete successful planning applications for HMO change of use

  • HMO Travel Plans to support limited parking locations

  • HMO Management Plans to support HMO change of use planning and HMO licence applications

  • HMO Building Regulation drawing packages to gain Building Control HMO Approval

  • HMO Licence Applications

HAD & Co cover the whole of the UK and specialise in areas such as Burnley, Nelson, Blackburn, Colne, Manchester, Salford, Bradford, Accrington, Darwen, Huddersfield, Bolton, Leigh and Wigan.

Check out our blogs on HMOs in Article 4 areas and other Northern and Lancashire areas. HAD & Co, the HMO specialists.

Link to drawings: https://www.hadmanchester.co.uk/hmoplanningpermission

Burnley Listed Building HMO Case Study

Nicholas Street- Conversion of 3 attached Grade II Listed terraced buildings into 12bed HMO


Nicholas Street in Burnley is part of Burnley Town Centre’s Conservation Area. No’s 5, 7 and 9 used to be individual 4 storey town houses and have historically been altered into one building which used to hold various offices and has been vacant for over 10 years. As an example of typical Georgian town houses, the building has been granted Grade II Listing Status. The proposal to change the building into a HMO (House of Multiple Occupation) was well suited and sought after in this area, especially with Burnley’s growing student numbers and expansive into higher education.

Due to the Listing status of the building, the proposed HMO changes were to be made internally with no works to the exterior and original structure- exposing where possible to further enhance the heritage of the building. Burnley Council also wanted the building to be brought up to a higher standard that also better replicated the original design of the houses. This meant there would be no plans to clean the building stone as it reflected the original stone-work and bore evidence of the historical smoke and smog that was present in Burnley during its prolific and successful industrial era. The windows were also to be replaced by better reflecting original box-sash designs with minimal double glazing to again enhance the heritage status of the building.

The original layout of the building allowed for numerous large offices at the front and some smaller to the rear where no’s 5 and 9 extend out further and a courtyard is formed in between against the rear of the buildings of Dugdale Street behind Nicholas Street. This courtyard also offers escape routes out for fire emergencies, cycle storage and refuse storage and collection organisation.

To offer a variation of accommodation, some of the larger offices will be split into two rooms where the existing windows will allow. The majority of bedrooms for this HMO will be double rooms (7) and have the potential to have 2 occupants per room, although this is not the intention of the owner, so a maximum number of occupants was set at 19 to ensure Burnley HMO’s space standards could be met.

As well as meeting the minimum space requirements for the bedrooms, the required WC’s and shower facilities were also designed into the existing spaces, and 2 kitchens with 2 set of cooking and storage equipment each were achieved. In addition, there will also be shared living spaces and an extra room dedicated to dining giving the occupants plenty of amenity space ancillary to the large and spacious individual bedrooms. The existing courtyard also allows for external space that stores the refuse and cycles of the occupants for the HMO.

Link to drawings: https://www.hadmanchester.co.uk/hmoplanningpermission

HMO Bradford Case Study

Pemberton Drive- Conversion of 2 attached terraced houses into 2x 16bed HMO’s


Pemberton Drive in Bradford is extremely close to Bradford City’s University. As such, many of these 4-storey Edwardian and Victorian terraced houses are used as student accommodation. HAD were tasked with designing as many beds as possible in two of these houses for the purpose of maintaining them as HMOs (Houses of Multiple Occupation).

The two houses were attached to each other, one mirrored the other in layout and appearance. This helped as what could be achieved in one house, could be replicated in the other. The two properties had been vacant for some years with extensive fire damage to the roof which needed intensive repairs and a full re-roof to one of the properties.

The houses as they existed had 4 storeys which included habitable basement and attic levels. Each shared an outrigger to the rear which afforded the house extra rooms in these parts. There was an existing access point from the basement and ground floor to the rear via steps, and the finished ground floor level was elevated from the external ground level to allow windows for the basement level at the front.

As well as rebuilding the roof and adding dormers to make the attic levels more usable, our client also wished for us to extend the rear outrigger to increase shared amenity spaces for the residents including a dedicated laundry room and extra respite space. By splitting the large front and rear rooms on the ground floor and first floor levels, the overall number of bedrooms could be increased. All bedrooms and living spaces had to meet strict requirements to ensure it would be a comfortable living standards. These included adequate space, organisation of furnishings and amount of facilities to ensure all occupants have what they need to live comfortably.

The original layout of each house allowed for up to 7 bedrooms, 1 large bathroom, living room, dining room, kitchen and storage space. The extension proposed additional space for extra bathroom and toilet facilities and extra respite areas including a dedicated laundry room for both properties to use. The extension also did not overbear on any neighbouring properties and still allowed for plenty of garden space and external bin storage for each of the HMO’s.

The dormers in the attic level had to be designed to be in keeping with the rest of the houses on this block as it formed part of the Little Horton Conservation Area for Bradford. With the rearrangement of the partition walls, the attic level managed to gain a total of 5 bedrooms per property with adequate head room, bed space and storage for each occupant. The first floor and ground floor followed similar layouts by splitting the larger rooms into two and utilising the space above the stairs and the rear outrigger. This enabled 5 bedrooms on the ground floor level and another 6 on the first floor. This was the same for both proposed HMO’s.

The first floor and basement levels were home to the toilet and shower blocks so no occupant had to go more than one floor to visit the bathroom. Using the council’s guidance on the amount of toilets and showers needed for the proposed amount of occupants per HMO, each house achieved 8 WC’s and 5 individual shower cubicles. There were also 2 kitchens in the basement that each had 2 sets of necessary kitchen space and plenty of dry and cold storage and worktop space.

Bradford City Council granted permission for these proposed extensions, changes and creation of 2x 16 bed HMO’s as they followed all guidance provided as well as living space standards, and the two 7 bed properties now allow for up to 32 residents to live for the nearby university.

HAD then went on to complete the building regulations approval for the proposed extensions and changes at the two proposed HMO’s. The extended basement, ground floor and first floor levels were detailed and specified as well as the new roof construction with dormers. The fire regulations, plumbing systems and M&E drawings were also completed to Building Regulations Approval and HMO officer approval.

Link to drawings: https://www.hadmanchester.co.uk/hmoplanningpermission