Posted February 21, 2020

Citywide Direction for Houses in Multiple Occupation in Birmingham


As of Monday 8th June 2020, a citywide direction to houses in multiple occupation (HMO) in Birmingham will be introduced.

This Article 4 Direction means that landlords in Birmingham who want to convert homes into small HMOs, which accommodate between three and six people, will have to apply for planning approval to do so. Currently, planning permission is only required for properties which are larger than this.

In June and July 2019, over a period of six weeks, the direction was publicised with comments received during this time considered at the council’s Cabinet meeting in December. All comments were resolved during this meeting. This has led to the cancellation of the existing Selly Oak, Harborne and Edgbaston Article 4 Direction and the confirmation of the new city-wide Article 4 Direction.

What do landlords need to do?

Ahead of this direction coming into force, landlords are urged to declare any existing HMOs to the city council. They must provide details of the address and evidence to show the property is being used for multiple occupancy.

Any existing HMOs declared after that date are likely to require retrospective planning applications or a certificate of lawful use. Both options will incur a charge.

Councillor Sharon Thompson, Cabinet Member for Homes and Neighbourhoods said:

“Shared accommodation or houses in multiple occupation provide an important way of meeting the city’s housing needs. However, high concentrations of HMOs can have a negative impact on the character of neighbourhoods and create unbalanced communities.

“This direction will enable the council to manage the growth of HMOs across the city more effectively as any new proposals will be assessed in line with planning policies.”

Finance 4 Business

As a specialist finance broker based in Birmingham, we understand that this change is likely to affect many of our clients. We are committed to supporting you through this direction coming into place in the best way we can.

If you are interested in acquiring a buy to let mortgage, including for HMOs, we can help. With Finance 4 Business as your commercial mortgage broker, we can provide you with access to a range of financial solutions and simplify the process for you. We also have access to commercial mortgages which are not available on the high street.

We take the time to fully understand your needs for the property. Save time by calling a commercial mortgages expert on 0121 309 0444 or emailing