City-Wide Article 4 Direction relating to Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)

The city council made a decision to introduce a city-wide Article 4 Direction, which came in to force on Monday 8 June 2020.

The direction means that throughout the city a planning application must be submitted for proposals to convert family houses (C3 use class) to small Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) accommodating between 3 and 6 people (C4 use class).

A 6 week period to publicise the city wide direction took place between Thursday 6 June 2019 and Thursday 18 July 2019. Comments received during this period were considered at the council’s cabinet meeting on 17 December 2019 and Cabinet resolved at that meeting to confirm the new city-wide Article 4 Direction and the cancellation of the existing Selly Oak, Harborne and Edgbaston Article 4 Direction, which is now covered by the city wide Article 4 Direction.

In the 12 months preceding the Article 4 Direction coming in to force the city council encouraged landlords, owners and agents to declare their existing small HMOs in the city. This was so that they could be recorded alongside those that had been identified from HMO licensing, planning approval and council tax records. A spreadsheet that summarises the number of HMOs identified in each ward of the city can be downloaded at the bottom of this page. This spreadsheet is updated regularly to take account of changes to the above records over time.

Certain properties are not classified as HMOs under national legislation, such as those managed by Registered Social Landlords, and therefore the planning requirements for these properties have not been changed by the city-wide Article 4 Direction. Read further information about this.

On 26 April 2022 the city council also adopted a new Houses in Multiple Occupation Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) to provide further guidance on the application of planning policy for HMO development proposals. If you propose to convert a property to a HMO, review the guidance provided within the SPD and refer to the planning application process.

For any more general enquiries about the city-wide Article 4 Direction, email:

The following documents are available to download:

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