Canterbury HMO Article 4 Direction

by Ed Firmin

Posted on Monday, April 18th, 2016 at 11:11

How does Canterbury Article 4 affect students and landlords?

In late 2015, around 30 councils across England announced the decisions to make changes to planning, renovation and licensing requirements for rental properties in their jurisdiction. Canterbury City is one of these councils.

This new set of rules, entitled “Article 4,” could mean drastic changes for both landlords and tenants in the Canterbury area – but what will it mean for you? Read ahead to learn all about Article 4 and find out if it will affect your tenancy or your householder’s duties.

What is Article 4?

Article 4 is a series of planning permissions that regulate a home owner’s ability to renovate their property, specifically in regards to increasing the home’s occupancy. It includes rules that aim to impose limits on the conversion of family homes into Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs). The UK Government defines an HMO as a “property rented out by at least 3 people who are not from 1 ‘household’ (e.g. a family) but share facilities like the bathroom and kitchen.”

The new Article 4 limits placed on HMO landlords can include (but are not limited to): restrictions on creating new bedrooms, limits on adding new windows to the property, an inability to add an extension or loft conversion and denial of applications for other changes to the home.

At first glance, Article 4 seems like a boon for heritage activists and those who want to maintain the structural and architectural integrity of their street or town – but a closer reading makes it clear that this set of laws has been passed in order to stifle a landlord’s ability to rent to students.

“Student Ghettos” – a valid complaint?

Canterbury is known around the world as a student city, as it is home to four major universities (University of Kent, Canterbury Christ Church University, the University for the Creative Arts and The American University in Canterbury) and an estimated 31,000 students, giving the city the highest student to permanent resident ratio in the UK.

Opponents of HMOs in Canterbury and the surrounding areas cite complaints that certain parts of the city are turning into “student ghettos,” packed with transient students. They claim that this high turnover of people with no ties to the area is disrupting the community and families who live nearby.

Those in favour of the students point out that a regular injection of fresh, young minds is part of what makes Canterbury such a brilliant place to live, and that their council tax and university fees give the area a huge financial boost.

What will Article 4 mean going forward?

Landlords – do not despair. If you need guidance to ensure that you stay on the right side of the law, contact the team at Redlet – their skilled team will help you and answer all of your questions.

If you are a student looking for a place to let in Canterbury, the team at Redlet will match you with the best property and landlord for you and guide you through any Article 4 requirements that may arise.

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