The Council’s Cabinet today confirmed a decision to implement planning rules which will give the council more control over the number and spread of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). This decision follows several months of consultation with residents groups, landlords and the universities. The rules which come into force on 23rd March 2012 will mean that family homes in Southampton will require planning permission before being able to be converted into HMOs. This is called an Article 4 direction.
Between now and 23rd March further work and consultation take place, looking at a suitable planning policy to sit alongside the Article 4 direction. This policy will also come into effect on 23rd March and will set out when it is suitable and not suitable for HMOs to be given planning permission. Areas like Freemantle are likely to have more protection as there are already large numbers of HMOs in the ward.