What does the Article 4 Direction mean for students and landlords?

Posted: 28/03/2012

On the 1st March some councils including Exeter, Sunderland, Dudley, Wolverhampton, Manchester and Oxford enforced the Article 4 which was introduced in efforts to maintain balanced neighbourhoods.

For students, this means that buildings that are going to be rented to three or more un-related people will need planning permission to change the property to a C4 House in Multiple Occupation.

This will lead to a lack of new accommodation for students in many cities. The reason why the councils are enforcing this rule is because they believe a non balanced community will cause anti social behaviour, damage to the streets and noise pollution so they want an equal amount of student accommodation to family housing and shops. Some see this as discrimination towards students. The good news is the Article 4 Direction does not affect current C3 Dwellings, only applications for new ones.

For landlords, this means that in effected areas, you wish to rent out housing to more than three un-related people you will have to apply for planning permission. Also if you wish to make any alterations to your property and it falls into a zone covered by the Article 4 Direction, then restrictions will apply. Many of these alterations that need planning permission would usually be considered a normal home owners right.
Some of the alterations include porches, front of dwellings, gates, fences walls, painting of the exterior of the dwelling and chimneys. You do not need planning permission to repair any existing feature to the dwelling and there will be no fees for planning applications required solely by Article 4 Direction.

Are you a student or landlord that will be affected? Please share your views on the Article 4 Direction.

Amanda McGovern, Pali Ltd

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