Article 4 (1) direction on small HMOs
We have withdrawn permitted development rights from most Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs). A small HMO is where between three and six unrelated people share basic amenities, such as a kitchen or bathroom.
There are two Article 4 Directions covering the whole borough. The first direction covers Lewisham's Southern Wards (old ward boundaries) and has been in force since 7 March 2020. The second direction covers the remainder of the borough and will come into force on 19 January 2024. Further details and associated documents for both directions can be found below.
What the directions mean
The effect of the Article 4 Directions is that permitted development rights to change any dwelling house (C3) located with Lewisham into a HMO (C4) do not apply and planning permission will be required.
For planning permission to be granted, applicants will need to demonstrate:
- that there is a specific need in the area
- that the conversion will not ‘harm’ the character of the area
- that the accommodation is of a high standard
If the application meets this criteria, the conversion from a single-family dwelling house to a small HMO may be deemed acceptable, assessed alongside any other relevant development management policies within the adopted local plan at the time.
The draft Regulation 19 Lewisham Local Plan: Proposed Submission Version proposes a more thorough and stringent policy in regard to HMOs, which factors in their overconcentration. This is set out in policy HO 8 Housing with shared facilities (Houses in Multiple Occupation), which will take effect once the new Local Plan is adopted. Please note that the draft policy may be subject to revisions following consultation feedback, and any amendments at a Local Plan examination.
Why this change is happening
We want to better manage the impact and standard of small HMOs in Lewisham.
We also want to avoid over concentrations of HMOs within any particular area.
The Article 4 Direction sits alongside other Council measures to improve the standard of HMOs within the borough including the extension to the HMO licensing scheme, where most HMO’s irrespective of size now require a license.
Article 4 Direction for southern area (in effect since 2020)
On 7 January 2020, we confirmed a non-immediate Article 4(1) Direction made on 5 March 2019, for Lewisham’s southern wards (previous ward boundaries) of Bellingham, Downham, Grove Park and Whitefoot. As of 7 March 2020, planning permission is required before a single-family dwelling house can be converted into a small HMO within Lewisham’s southern wards.
This means we have withdrawn permitted development rights for the change of use of dwelling houses in Class C3, to small houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) in Class C4.
We ran a period of representation on this proposal from 7 March to 2 May 2019. At its meeting on 18 September 2019 Mayor and Cabinet confirmed the Article 4 Direction. The Direction came into force on the 7 March 2020.
To find out whether an existing Article 4 Direction on Small HMO’s applies to your property please see our interactive map.
You can download a copy of the Article 4(1) Direction for Southern Wards, including a map defining the area and associated documents, using the links below.
Article 4 Direction for the remainder of the borough (in effect from 2024) representation period
On 6 June 2023, we confirmed a non-immediate Article 4(1) Direction made on 11 January 2023 for the remainder of the borough, in addition to the existing 2020 Article 4 Direction covering Lewisham’s southern wards. The direction withdraws permitted development rights for the change of use from dwelling houses (Use Class C3) to small HMOs (Use Class C4).
We ran a period of representation on this proposal from 18 January 2023 to 1 March 2023. At the end of the representation period and after reviewing comments made by the public, the Mayor and Cabinet of Lewisham Council decided at its meeting on 10 May 2023 to confirm the Article 4 Direction.
The Direction came into force on 19 January 2024 and planning permission will now be required before a single-family dwelling house can be converted into a small HMO within all of Lewisham’s remaining wards.
An Article 4 Direction does not mean an application for a small HMO would be automatically refused. It will now require the submission of a planning application for a proposed HMO so that the impacts can be assessed in accordance with the relevant planning policies adopted in the local plan at the time. The Article 4 Direction sits alongside other Council measures to improve the standard of HMOs within the borough including the new Additional HMO Licensing Scheme - covering most HMOs - recently introduced in a complementary and coordinated. This approach will help the Council ensure HMOs are of good quality and provide a suitable standard of accommodation in appropriate locations balanced with the need for family housing whilst preventing low-quality accommodation in inappropriate locations.
To find out whether the Article 4 Direction on Small HMO’s applies to your property please see our interactive map.
You can download a copy of the Article 4 (1) Direction for the remainder of the borough, including a map defining the area and associated documents, using the links below: