Article 4 is the name given to a specific area of a city or suburb which requires that planning permission is obtained prior to the property being turned into a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO).
This is a relatively obscure piece of legislation that is designed to put limitations on the amount of HMO properties in certain locations.
As such, not many people even realise it exists! So, as a property investor, if you are planning on transforming your investment into a HMO to realise a potentially larger yield, it’s probably a good idea you know about it!
In the West Midlands, Birmingham Council has put in a requirement for certain properties in Edgbaston, Selly Park, Selly Oak and Harborne to need planning permission if they are converted from a family residence (Class 3) to a house of multiple occupation (HMO or Class 4).
The council will not permit family houses to be converted into HMO’s where there is already an over concentration of HMO’s or indeed where it would result in an over concentration. They have defined that an over concentration would be where 10% or more of the houses within 100 meters of the application site that are not being used as class 3 use.
This picture shows a map of the area covered by article 4. As an investor looking to buy an HMO property in this area it may be very difficult to convert a C3 property into a C4 property. Therefore, ideally you would be better served buying a property which has already had planning permission granted.
If you are considering converting a property in this area, then you can check if a property is likely to be granted planning permission by speaking to the Council’s Planning and Regeneration service who can provide pre-application advice.
Image by Claire Jones-Hughes from Pixabay