Lawfulness of HMO rejected given historic use

A LDC which sought confirmation that a property in southeast London could be used as a house in multiple occupation (HMO) failed because the documentary evidence was relatively sparse and did not demonstrate a continuous period of occupation.

The appellant stated that before April 2010 the appeal site comprised a small HMO which fell within Class C3 of the Use Classes Order 1987. However, an inspector concluded that this was incorrect since before the introduction of the amendment to the GPDO in 2010, a HMO was a sui generis use. After April 2010 it was placed within a new C4 use class but this did not define the lawfulness of the appeal property because there was no provision within the legislation for retrospective approval of a change of use which occurred before that date.

The two bedroom sitting rooms which comprised the upper ground floor had not been occupied continuously with two spells of at least seven months each when they were vacant. The rooms were also incapable of being occupied since they did not possess adequate facilities required for separate occupation and during this period only two people occupied the whole of the premises.

The legal position was also complicated by the existence of what appeared to be a self-contained flat on the first floor. In his opinion it had not been proven that this had been occupied four years as a self-contained unit of accommodation and a LDC could therefore not be issued for this element of the use.

Inspector Alan Woolnough; Written representations


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