Deciding to invest in building a successful HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) portfolio is certainly the first step towards having a profitable property business. The implementation, however, can be a difficult process, especially when it comes to obtaining planning permission. That’s why creating the perfect HMO planning statement can be the difference between approval and refusal.

In instances where Change of Use and structural work to the property falls under permitted development rights, soon-to-be HMO landlords will not need planning permission. In contrast, where permitted development rights have been removed, or if you are developing a larger HMO for seven or more tenants, you will need to apply for planning permission.

This is a complex task; not least because of the detailed nature of the applications themselves, but also because requirements differ from one local authority to the next.

At Platinum Property Partners, we always encourage our franchise partners to include a planning statement. They are not only critical in providing evidence of policy compliance and material considerations, but they allow you to demonstrate other reasons why the proposed work should be approved that may otherwise be left out.

Where possible, you should include as much detail as you can in a planning statement to ensure that the proposal is seen in the best light and that planning officers have all the information they need to fairly assess an application.

Here are some of our top tips for the perfect HMO planning statement.

Show you know your stuff

Prior to submitting your application, you should have contacted various departments for advice and support. Detail both formal and informal engagements in the planning statement so that you can show you have engaged with the local authority, taken their advice on board and structured the application accordingly.

Most importantly, make sure you are aware of the Local Development Framework, or Local Plans, made up of Core Strategies or Development Plans, which contain planning policies that will be used to assess your proposal. Also, remember to look out for supplementary Planning Documents or Guidance. They don’t always exist, but if they do, they can cover anything from housing provision and sustainability to residential amenity, access and refuse.

Detail how your proposal complies with such strategies. For example, if a core strategy is to increase the stock of affordable rental accommodation, then explain how your HMO does that. If transport and refuse management are major considerations, detail how you will provide adequate parking spaces, bike storage and refuse and recycling facilities.

Highlight your professionalism

Also sell yourself. Describe how you operate as a landlord and adhere to best practice and if you are a member of a landlord association or accreditation scheme, or even a reputable franchise like Platinum Property Partners.

Sell the quality

When it comes to describing the quality of accommodation, don’t just focus on aesthetics such as granite worktops and marble fireplaces. Where relevant, demonstrate how proposed works will improve the property overall. Will you be making it safer? Have sustainable and energy efficiency measures been introduced? Will it maintain the standard in the street? It’s also useful to include information about how the property and ground will be maintained.

Talk tenants

The type of people assumed to be living in the HMO can often be a bone of contention. It’s essential to include information about the type of tenants who will be living in the property and your screening processes for prospective tenants. This is important as many neighbours will not fully understand the type of property being developed and this can lead to misconceptions and objections from those who have only ever heard bad press about HMOs.

Previous examples

It is always useful to include other relevant planning applications which have been granted planning permission for similar proposals elsewhere in the borough or district. This could be one of your own or someone else’s’. Planning applications can be searched for via the planning section of your local authority’s website and using keywords such as ‘HMO’.

And remember to include pictures. Again, these could be another one of your HMOs or something that conveys the finish and quality that you are aiming for. It is also a good idea to include floorplans showing the ‘before’ and ‘after’ changes to the layout of the property and a diagram or photograph showing the location of the refuse and recycling storage area.

Sum it up

Finally, a summary and conclusion of the proposal and why it should be granted planning permission should conclude the perfect HMO planning statement nicely. Whatever you do, always try and demonstrate that the proposed works will be beneficial to the local area.