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Planning permission and building control for HMOs

Planning permission is required for some HMOS regardless of whether or not works are being carried out.

Planning permission

Planning permission is required:

  • for houses in multiple occupation housing seven or more people 
  • where a building is being converted into smaller units such as self-contained flats. 

In Islington, there are currently no planning restrictions on using a family home as an HMO for less than seven people, who share facilities.

You can access further information and advice on planning and listed buildings in conservation areas on Planning.

Building regulations 

Building regulations apply to a wide range of works relating to converting a building to HMO use.

These include the installing of new kitchen and bathroom facilities, new doors and windows and fire and sound insulation between units of accommodation, upgrading/renewing electrical wiring and upgrading/renewing certain heating systems.

When arranging works check that your contractor is operating under an approved industry scheme or apply for the correct approval under the Building Regulations. You can access further information and advice on Building Control.

Buildings that have been converted into self-contained flats are also HMOs if they were not converted in accordance with building regulations (1991 or later) and less than two-thirds of the flats are owner-occupied.

The full legal definition is found in the Housing Act 2004 and there is a House of Commons Library publication (SN/SP/708), which you can search for on the House of Commons site which provides detailed information on this subject.

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