New planning rules for student accommodation in Portsmouth
Potential landlords of student accommodation must be aware of the change to planning requirements implemented by Portsmouth City Council says Paul Winslade a partner in Warner Goodman Commercial’s property team in Portsmouth.
This is the time of year when investment buyers and parents whose sons or daughters are attending Portsmouth University look to take advantage of what has, historically, been an abundance of property suitable for student lets.
Portsmouth City Council however, decided last year, to implement a Direction under Article 4(1) of the Town & Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 and from 1st November 2011 it has been essential that properties for multiple occupation have the correct planning usage.
If the property owner intends to let to three or more individuals, as in a student let, the planning use of the property will fall within Class 4 of the Schedule to the Town & Country (Use Classes) Order 1987 and not, as previously, Class 3 which covers a normal dwelling house. A planning application to the local authority will be necessary to change the planning use from Class 3 to Class 4 unless there is evidence that the property has previously been continuously used for multiple occupation.
Paul Winslade comments: “It is imperative that anyone looking to buy a property for multi-let confirms the permitted planning use. If the property has been previously let a quick check of the Council’s register of such properties may suffice. However, if the property is not already registered, the buyer’s conveyancer can advise on the requisite evidence required of previous use which may avoid the need for a formal planning application to change the use.
“Buyers should check the planning use as early as possible as an application for planning consent will incur additional expense and perhaps more importantly take time; when there is usually a deadline by which the purchase for such properties must complete”.
The planning application for change of use is in addition to any requirement of registering the property as a Home in Multiple Occupation (HMO) and obtaining a licence for a HMO.
Portsmouth City Council has created a register for properties that have Class 4 use, whether by formal application for change of use or as a result of usage which existed prior to the trigger date.
Written by Paul Winslade, Partner at Warner Goodman LLP. Contact:
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