What is Article 4?


Around 2010 it became apparent that there was increasing concern among the residents of the West End about the number of family dwellings being converted to Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HMOs) principally to provide student accommodation. The WERA Committee at that time became aware of new Government legislation giving local planning authorities power to require planning permission to be sought where the type of conversion referred to above was intended. This legislation was known as Article 4 and prior to that being introduced local planning authorities had no control over those conversions.

Over a lengthy period of time the Committee contacted other Councils where Article 4 had been implemented e.g. Exeter, Nottingham, York and also had liaison with an organisation called the National HMO Lobby who provided useful facts and guidance about implementing Article 4.

Having compiled a strong case for the implementation of Article 4 in the West End the Committee presented a paper to our Ward Councillors at that time and to the Leader of the Council. The initial response was disappointing in that the Council’s preferred route was to implement a system of landlord licencing. It was pointed out by WERA that although this might improve the standard of existing HMOs it did nothing to prevent the ongoing process of further conversions with the real risk of creating a serious imbalance in the demographics of the West End population.

Despite this setback enquiries were pursued as to how the Article 4 request could be taken further and we were informed that if a petition of at least 900 names could be put together then a presentation to the full Council would be possible.          

In 2014, the West End community came together to compile an 1,113 signature petition to request that the City of Lincoln council (CoLC) consider implementing an Article 4 direction in the West End of Lincoln. At a meeting on 15 December 2014 the council’s Executive committee agreed to commence the process to bring in an Article 4 direction. Following a lengthy consultation process an Article 4 direction was conformed on 25 January 2016 and brought in with effect from 1 March 2016.

The Article 4 direction relates to development comprising the change of use from a use falling within Class C3 (dwellinghouses) of the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1997, as amended; to a use falling within Class C4 (houses in multiple occupation) of that Order, and removes permitted development rights for this type of development. In short, any house within the West End cannot be converted into a House in Multiple Occupation (3 or more people from separate households) without applying for planning permission.

Supplementary Planning Document
Alongside the Article 4 direction the CoLC brought in a ‘supplementary Planning Document’ which sets out some of the criteria by which any HMO planning application will be made. This includes critieria such as:-

  • There should be no more than 10% of HMO’s in a 100 metre radius
  • Proposals shall not result in 3 adjacent HMO’s

If you believe that a property is now being used as a House in Multiple Occupation and was not used as one prior to the 1 March 2016, then please contact WERA via weralincoln@gmail.com