Planning Success – Certificate of Lawfulness for HMO in Manchester

Planning House are pleased to have secured another planning success. This time it is a Certificate of Lawfulness for a small House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) for a client in Manchester.

Background to a Certificate of Lawfulness

Sections 191 and 192 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 provide for anyone (not just a person with a legal interest in the land) to apply to the local planning authority (LPA) for a lawful development certificate (LDC). A certificate is a statutory document certifying:

(1) in the case of an application under section 191, the lawfulness, for planning purposes, of existing operations on, or use of land, or some activity being carried out in breach of a planning condition; or

(2) in the case of an application under section 192, the lawfulness of proposed operations on, or use of land.

The onus of proof in regard to (1) is firmly on the applicant and the issue of a certificate will depend on the on factual evidence provided about the history and planning status of the building or other land and the interpretation of any relevant planning law or judicial authority. The relevant test of the evidence in this matter is “the balance of probability” and the applicants own evidence does not need to be corroborated by independent evidence. If the Council have no evidence to contradict the applicant’s version of events or make them less then probable, there is no good reason to refuse the issue of a certificate.

In regard to (2), this provides that, if the Council are supplied with information satisfying them that the use or operations described in the application would be lawful, if instituted or begun at the time of the application, they shall issue a certificate to that effect; and, in any other case, they shall refuse the application. In short, the purpose section 192 is to enable any person who wishes to find out whether any proposed use or operations would be lawful to apply to the LPA for that purpose.

Our Approval

Our application was pursued under subsection (1) of section 191 which provides for an application to determine whether a specified existing use, operation, or failure to comply with a planning condition or limitation, which has already been carried out on land is lawful for planning purposes.

Our Situation

In a case of this type, the onus is on the applicant to substantiate his or her case, on the balance of probability. We demonstrated on behalf of our client that the use of property as a small House in Multiple Occupation (Use Class C4) commenced more than ten years and continued without a significant break for ten years.

The evidence we provided was in the form of tenancy agreements, bank statements, email correspondence with tenants, report and valuation for mortgage purposes, spare room advert and other correspondence to the council regarding student exemptions.  The documentation provided shows that the rooms are rented out on an individual basis, that there have been consistently 4 to 5 tenants renting the property since 2013 up to the present day. Therefore, Manchester City Council on balance of probability and without any evidence to the contrary confirmed that the property has been in use a small house in multiple occupation continuously for over 10 years.

The Council issued the Certificate of Lawful Development for the existing use of the property as a C4 HMO – congratulations to our client!

Related Content:

As well as our set of FREE EBOOKS offering information on the basics of key town planning topics, we’ve also produced handy practical guides to help unravel the red tape of town planning.

Our Practical Guide Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) is available if you are considered a HMO development.  If you are in need of further assistance with anything related to HMO planning, a Town Planner can provide you with the guidance you need for a smooth transition please feel free to CONTACT US to discuss your situation.

As well as a Practical Guide for HMO’s we also have one on Certificate of Lawfulness for existing uses or development (CLEUD) and one covering 10 steps to securing a certificate of lawfulness for your house in multiple occupation (HMO).

Certificate of Lawfulness Manchester HMO CLEUD