Like crocodiles and alligators, Champagne and prosecco, muffins and cupcakes, Planning and Licensing share a number of overlaps, but are two very separate entities. At Platinum Property Partners (PPP), we are frequently asked for support in these areas. So, how do they differ?

Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail

Planning is concerned with development – the use of the land both above and below the ground. Planning acts as a system of control over the development of the land which is deemed to be in the interest of the public.

Decisions on Planning are primarily based on local planning policies, informed by the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which sets out a broad approach of how the land should be developed and managed, as well as other ‘material considerations’ such as nature conservation, overshadowing or parking. However, these are not always well-defined and allow for some flexibility. Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) have the power and discretion to decide on the majority of planning applications and do so using their own adopted local planning policies, documents and guidance.

This flexibility of interpretation is what makes PPP’s Planning consultant team so valuable to our network of Franchise Partners. Their expert knowledge is key to ensuring that they make the most of their properties whilst staying 100% compliant with local legislation. Knowing what they need to apply for, when, and how is key, and can be a bit of a minefield.

That’s Another Storey

Licensing is concerned with the health and safety of tenants and ensuring that Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) are of a suitable standard. The Housing Act 2004 introduced licensing for HMOs, plus also provided a detailed definition of HMOs and sets out standards of management for this type of property.

Licensing is currently only mandatory for HMOs which have three or more storeys and are occupied by five or more people, forming two or more households. However, the storeys element of this will be removed from 1st October 2018. It’s important to remember that there are two other types of licence that apply to HMOs:

  • Additional
  • Selective

The law states that any decision to implement a selective or additional licensing scheme must be consistent with the council’s housing strategy and must be part of a coordinated approach for dealing with homelessness, empty homes and anti-social behaviour.

Not an Option

Unlike Planning, where the enforcement procedures are less severe, Licensing is not optional. If you need a licence, there are serious consequences for not having one, such as a custodial sentence, an unlimited fine, having to pay back rental income, and being banned from operating as a landlord in the future.

Platinum Property Partners works with our Franchise Partners to ensure that there is no risk of such consequences, striving for the highest standards and adhering to all Planning and Licensing requirements, whether mandatory, additional or selective.