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Planning for houses in multiple occupation

A house in multiple occupation (HMO) is a property occupied by at least 3 people who are not from one household (like a family), but share facilities like a bathroom and kitchen. They're often called house shares or bedsits.

Under The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (the GPDO), a change of use from a house (use class C3) to a large HMO of 7 or more people (which does not fall into any of the planning use classes) requires planning permission.

However, change of use from a house to a small HMO of between 3 and 6 people (use class C4), is classed as permitted development and does not normally require a planning application to be made.

On 20 December 2023, the council's Executive agreed to bring in planning controls for changes of use to small HMOs through an Article 4 Direction. This means that in future, planning applications will also be required for changes of use from a house to a small HMO.

Article 4 Direction for houses in multiple occupation

On 5 February 2024, the council made a non-immediate Article 4(1) Direction under Article 4(1) of the GPDO to remove permitted development rights involving changes of use from houses to small HMOs.

The direction will apply to the entire area of Middlesbrough, excluding the part that is designated as the mayoral development area for the Middlesbrough Development Corporation.

View the Article 4 Direction

View a map of the area covered by the Article 4 Direction

View the public notice


You can make a comment (called a 'representation') on the direction between 7 February 2024 and 28 February 2024.

To make a representation, you can email planningpolicy@middlesbrough.gov.uk, or write to Planning Policy, Middlesbrough Council, PO Box 503, Town Hall, TS1 9FX.

We'll read and take into account all comments when deciding whether or not to confirm the direction.

If the direction is confirmed, we expect that it will take effect from 8 February 2025.