Houses in multiple occupation (HMO) planning policy

Milton Keynes Council has an adopted HMOs Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) and has introduced two Article 4 Directions. For more information on the Article 4 Directions and the HMOs SPD

Supplementary planning document

In 2012 The Council adopted a Houses in Multiple Occupation Supplementary Planning Document (SPD). The SPD provides guidance and is a material consideration in assessing planning applications affecting the change of use from a C3 dwelling house to a C4 House in Multiple Occupation.


Paper copies of the documents are available to view in the Civic Offices, and in our libraries. Opening times of all the libraries are available on the library web pages.

A copy of the adoption report and the decision notice is available from: Delegated decision 10 April 2012

Prior to adoption, the SPD was published for 12 weeks consultation. Further details on the consultation is available from HMO SPD Consultation.

Article 4 Directions

Milton Keynes has introduced two Article 4 Directions withdrawing the permitted development right for a change of use to a Use Class C4 HMO. This means planning permission is required when converting a dwelling house (C3), or non-residential property, to a Use Class (C4) HMO in the following areas:

  • the urban area (whole of the Borough excluding the wards of Hanslope Park, Olney, Sherington and Danesborough). This Article 4 Direction was introduced on 30 December 2010.

  • the whole Borough (including the wards of Hanslope Park, Olney, Sherington and Danesborough). This Article 4 Direction was introduced on 23 December 2011.

Further information is available at Article 4 Directions.

Legal challenge

Following changes to the planning system introduced by the Government in 2010, Milton Keynes Council commenced a Judicial Review claim against the legislation, arguing that it had been implemented without a proper consultation with local planning authorities and without bearing in mind all the impacts. Having had the claim dismissed in the High Court in April 2011, the council was granted leave to appeal. The appeal was dismissed by the Court of appeal on 16 December 2011.

Briefing note

The briefing note below has been prepared in order to help clarify the current planning position in relation to HMOs.

Briefing Note

Private sector housing

As well as planning legislation, HMOs are covered by housing legislation. The Private Sector Housing Team is responsible for checking all Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) to make sure they are in satisfactory condition, are safe, have satisfactory means of escape from fire, have sufficient bathrooms and kitchens, have adequate space and proper management.

The team also deals with the mandatory licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation.