Enforcement of a change of use from HMO (House of Multiple Occupancy) to Hotel - London

Business’s change over time and the way it operates can have implications for the planning status of a site. Following the granting of planning permission of a property to a large House in Multiple Occupation in London, which was intended to provide affordable accommodation for key workers in a nearby hospital, it transpired that there was greater demand for shorter term occupation by visitors.

As no internal or external amendments were made to the layout or structure, and the property was still being let to residential occupants, it was perceived by the owner that planning permission was not required. Following an enquiry by the Council,Inspire Planning Solutions Ltd were approached, and we advised the client that permission was needed as a material change of use from a Sui Generis use to a Class C1 use (a Hotel) had occurred.

Given the long and protracted history of this site, we undertook pre-application discussions with the Council with a particular focus on the ‘sequential approach’ as a Hotel was deemed a town centre use. The similarities in the occupancy levels between the HMO and Hotel uses, the continuing residential nature of the property and other commonalities were put forward to show that there would be no adverse impacts in terms of parking or noise and disturbance.

The Council agreed on the subsequent planning application, that the Sequential Test report that we provided demonstrated that there were no more preferable properties to locate the hotel use in. Planning permission and no further action was taken on the enforcement enquiry by the Council.