Policy for HMOs and Student Accommodation

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3 Supporting Information for Applicants

Definition of an HMO

3.1 A House in Multiple Occupation includes a house or flat which is occupied by 3 or more unrelated people who share an amenity such as a kitchen, lounge or bathroom. It includes a range of different types of accommodation such as bedsits, shared houses, staff accommodation, student cluster flats and halls of residence. The legal definition is contained within Part 7 of the Housing Act 2004. Further information is available on the Council’s web site: Multiple occupancy homes

(2) The Article 4 Direction (Small HMOs)

3.2 The Article 4 Direction in respect of small HMOs applies in Leamington Spa wards only. It means that planning permission is required for a change of use from a single dwelling (Use Class C3) to a small HMO (Use Class C4). Small HMOs in Use Class C4 are defined as dwellings occupied by between 3 and 6 unrelated people sharing. In other areas of the District, planning permission is not required for changes of use from a family dwelling to a small HMO (Use Class C4). However permission is always required if the change of use is to a house shared by more than 6 unrelated people.

(1) Applying the 100m Radius Test

3.3 In implementing the 100m radius policy, the Council will supplement its own information with an area survey. This will ensure that the information is up-to-date. Buildings converted into self-contained flats will not be counted as HMOs unless the individual flats are occupied by 3 or more unrelated people. However buildings which have been converted into a mix of self-contained and not self-contained flats will be counted as HMOs.

3.4 The exceptions to the 100m radius policy will allow larger developments of HMOs or student accommodation where they are located in mixed use areas on main through fares. In these locations there is less likely to be an adverse impact on local residential amenity, provided the route between the proposal and the town centre does not pass through a residential area.

(1) Distance from a Bus Stop

3.5 Most urban locations within the District are close to a public transport route. However, it is necessary to ensure that accommodation is within a reasonable distance of a bus stop because occupants of HMOs and student accommodation are more likely to depend upon public transport. This is particularly the case in respect of Warwick University students because the University discourages students from taking cars onto the campus.

Refuse Storage

3.6 The satisfactory storage of refuse is an important element in any HMO proposal. The Council’s guidelines for refuse storage include details of the recommended sizes of containers. These are set out below:

Provision of Refuse Containers for
Standard Houses containing Adults
Size of Household
(No of Adults)
Size of Grey Bin
No of Grey Bins
1-3 180 1
4-5 240 1
6-8 180 2
>8 240 2

3.7 Bulk containers are provided for flats, assuming 90 litres per flat per week. In the case of blocks of more than 8 flats, it is recommended that the Co-Mingled AWC scheme is used.

3.8 Proposals for new, purpose built accommodation and changes of use will be required to include well located storage facilities for refuse containers of a size recommended above. This will ensure that all refuse can be adequately contained without impacting on general amenity, with the ability to move the containers to the collection point without the need to pass through a dwelling.

Other Guidance: Planning

3.9 Applicants should also have regard to relevant Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs) and Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG):

Vehicle Parking Standards SPD: Vehicle Parking Standards SPD

Sustainable Buildings SPD: Sustainable Buildings SPD

Open Space SPD: Open Space SPD

Residential Design Guide SPG: Residential Design Guide SPG

Other Guidance: Housing Management & Licensing

3.10 The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 impose duties on persons managing HMOs (3 or more unrelated persons, any number of stories). They require the maintenance of the structure, fittings and fixtures of common parts and living accommodation, both internal and external, and the maintenance of the water supply and drainage, gas and electricity. www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2006/372/contents/made

3.11 The Housing Act 2004 requires HMOs consisting of 3 or more stories and with 5 or more persons to be licensed with the local authority. The local authority will need to be satisfied that:

  • the licence holder/person managing the property is fit and proper;
  • the management arrangements are satisfactory; and
  • the property is capable of being made suitable for occupation by a specified number of persons.

Further information is available on the Council’s web site: Multiple occupancy homes

3.12 Universities UK has produced a Student Accommodation Code of Practice which landlords can join. This is applicable to large developments of student accommodation. Information about the Code is available here: Accommodation Code of Practice

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