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HMO Enforcement-Last lawful use

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I have a HMO property that the council took enforcement action on because there were 8 letting rooms.
I appealed the enforcement notice on the grounds that the property was first a C4 HMO (small HMO for up to 6 unrelated individuals) and then the additional two rooms were rented at a later date and that the change from 6 to 8 rooms was not a material change of use.
The appeal was dismissed as the inspectorate deemed the change as a material one.
We then removed two of the tenants and emptied the rooms of all furniture and removed the locks from those doors leaving a C4 HMO.
The area this property is in now has an article 4 direction in place but the change of use to C4 was lawful at the time.
The councils officers made a site visit to see if we had complied with the enforcement notice.
He said that we had not complied as there were still locks on doors. I argued that we have gone back to the last lawful use that was C4. But he said that I would have to bring the property back to a single dwelling house or have only two unrelated sharers in the house.
Is this 100% correct? I've read the page on the RLA website about HMO enforcement action and it seems to me that I would be able to go back to the last lawful use because it was lawful at the time we went from a dwelling to C4 use.
Any help would be much appreciated as I feel they are just bullying landlords!
21/05/2015 18:05

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