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You are here:home > Environment > Planning policy > Supplementary Planning Documents and Guidance > Houses in Multiple Occupation

Houses in Multiple Occupation

On 23rd March 2012, Southampton City Council adopted the Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs). The purpose of the document is to provide supplementary guidance for all parties involved in the planning application process. The adoption of this document has coincided with the Article 4 direction becoming effective on 23rd March 2012, which has removed permitted development rights to change a family home (C3) into a small HMO (C4). This change of use now requires planning permission.

The role of the SPD guidance is to expand and provide more detail on how the Council will assess planning applications to convert a family house into a small HMO (3 to 6 unrelated people) and large HMOs (7 or more people) under saved policy ‘H4 – Houses in Multiple Occupation’ of the Local Plan Review and policy ‘CS16 – Housing Mix and Type’ in the Core Strategy. The document also provides guidance on standards for ‘living conditions of tenants’ and ‘parking’ in relation to HMOs.

The SPD defines a tipping point where the concentration of HMOs begins to adversely impact on the character and balance of a community. The guidance sets a threshold limit which will not permit new HMOs in a community above a concentration of 10% in the northern wards (Bassett, Portswood and Swaythling) and 20% for the rest of the city. For each planning application, the threshold will be applied using a 40 metre radius or minimum of the nearest 10 residential properties surrounding an application site. The threshold limit aims to prevent new concentrations of HMOs and thus encourage a more even distribution across the city, whilst addressing future needs for growth of HMO accommodation. Exceptional circumstances to the threshold will be considered in streets where there are 1 or 2 family homes remaining.

The formal consultation period of the draft SPD took place for 6 weeks from 22 December - 1 February 2012. To download the representation statement and supporting documents, please click the links in the “downloadable documents” section below this text.

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