Small HMO but no planning permission

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Licensing will give me a license for a small HMO But the planners have told me they have not granted planning for change of use to a small HMO since July 2013.

I've been letting my 4-5 bed house to a group of 3 to 4 professionals from 2004-2010, but have a selective license because I'd reluctantly let to a family of four during the time licensing was introduced in 2012. I asked for an additional HMO license because I knew the family were moving and I would then lead to a group again as usual, but the council gave me a selective license instead.

The house is set up for 3 to 4 young professional sharers. It's 4-5 bed with one bathroom (toilet shower and bath all in the same room) and an outside toilet.

For the last month it has been dawning on me that I may not ever get planning for change of use to a small HMO, and because of this I have already turned down three groups of four young professionals in a month, and the agents have not been able to find one small family because one person cannot afford to pay the rent for a five bed house. (The family I allowed to stay were unusually well off. They also wrecked my house before divorcing and moving out. )

So after extensive repairs & refurb I can't find any tenants to comply with the selective license. Licensing have said they will certainly grant me a small HMO license (for 600) but unfortunately planning will do their utmost to not give permission for change of use.

I cannot expect to be able to let a 4-5 bed house to 2 unrelated individuals, even by halving the rent and locking and used rooms. I do not think it is safe to lock unused rooms in case access by a builder is needed in emergency. If I do not lock the rooms the tenants could try to sublet, and I will be culpable. Even if I did let half to 2 people, they would face large bills in the winter.

Even if I move back in which I intend to at some point, I will not be able to share with more than two other people! I prefer to share with a group.

Without going into any more details, my situation is dire. The council have taken away my livelihood at a particularly awkward time.
07/08/2014 17:49

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