What is an Article 4 Direction?

Article 4 Direction - Town and Country Planning General Permitted Development England Order 2015

An Article 4 Direction is an exemption in the General Permitted Development rules in England. It enables individual local planning authorities to limit the work property owners can to without planning permission, under the “permitted development” rules.

Local authorities can decide to remove “permitted development” rights from certain areas by making an Article 4 Direction.

In this article, I discuss three types of Article 4 Directions for property investors to be aware of.

HMO Properties

Councils can decide to require planning permission in areas that are subject to an Article 4 Direction for HMOs. This would involve conversion of residential properties (C3 use) into HMOs (C4 use).

It’s therefore important to check whether a Direction is in force before buying a property to convert to an HMO, as planning permission adds cost, time and uncertainty.

Conservation areas

Article 4 can also apply to conservation areas, which are defined by planning law as areas of “special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance”.

It can be used to control works that could threaten the character of a conservation area. For instance, requiring owners to obtain planning permission to do fit new doors and windows, paint or render brickwork, add an extension, and remove a chimney.

As the requirements differ so considerably, even within the same borough, property investors should look at the local council website for more information. Here is an example from the London Borough of Richmond.

Short term lets: Proposed new C5 Class

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There are proposals for councils to be able to require short term let hosts to obtain planning permission

The Department for Levelling Up launched a consultation paper on 12 April 2023 on its proposals to introducea new use class for short term lets (C5) and associated permitted development rights. If implemented, local authorities would be able to Article 4 for short-term lets, in a similar way to HMOs.

This is the link to participate in the consultation, which closes on 7 June 2022.

What does Article 4 mean
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