HMO and Traffic Regulation Order for Residents' Parking Permits

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    HMO and Traffic Regulation Order for Residents' Parking Permits

    I have a house in Oxford which last year fell foul of the change to residential categories. As a result I had to apply for planning permission for an HMO. One outcome was that Oxford City Council decided to remove the entitlement to 2 residential parking permits and required me to sign a Section 106 Unilateral Undertaking. Removing the permits apparently requires a Traffic Regulation Order at a cost of £1000, although now up to £1500. The house will not be a permanent change of use, just a few years while we go off and do other things.

    It is clear reading some of the legislation that it does not really cater for this situation. I would have thought that OCC could be more imaginative and have some sort of system to merely suspend the permits. The planning permission does include the provision to return the permits once the change of use reverts to a domestic dwelling.

    The impact is quite severe - no parking permits and no visitors permits. So even the visiting gardener cannot park while he trims the garden. Nor the boiler servicing man for the Gas Certificate etc etc.

    Wondered if anyone else has come across this and if there was another solution?

    Sounds like a lot of nonsense to me. Can't you sell the house or let it to a family?


      I would write a letter and ask them to explain the legal basis for this load of cobblers...

      Hmm, I have to ask how many people are you looking to allow into the property? If it's above 6, then this may be happening as the residential usage has gone Sui Generis (of it's own usage type) - so the council can force this kind of action on you (including Section 106s). 6 tenants and below fits into the C3/C4 residential usage and therefore you avoid a lot of this kind of nonsense...


        Thought I'd heard Oxford CC had had problems with challenges to the scheme in general (can't remember details..) so defo worth a letter & enquiry...

        Mind you, parking in central Oxford has been a b***ard for at least 50 years to my personal knowledge..
        I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...


          Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post
          required me to sign a Section 106 Unilateral Undertaking
          1 - Is 'required me to sign a Unilateral Undertaking' even legal since it is clearly forced upon you? It may be a norm in Planning.


          2 - I think it will be worth you looking at the exact dates when various things happened, and see what you can do.

          As I understand it in Oxford:

          6 April 2010:
          "On 6 April 2010 privately-rented shared houses, with up to six unrelated tenants, were reclassified under a new planning use class 'C4 Houses in Multiple Occupation' (HMO's)."

          October 2010:
          "October 2010 – Coalition government make further
          amendments to the GPDO giving permitted development rights
          for changes from Class C3 dwelling to Class C4 HMO"

          Article 4 Direction:

          "On 24 of February 2011 Oxford City Council served an Article 4 Direction allowing it to introduce local planning controls in terms of HMO?s. This change is subject to one year?s notice, so as of 24 February 2012 planning permission will be required to change the use of a C3 dwellinghouse to a shared rented house (C4 HMO). This measure will apply to the entire Oxford City Council area.

          Up until 23 February 2012, conversions between C3 Dwellinghouses and C4 HMO?s will not require planning permission. Planning permission will not be required for a change of use of a C4 HMO to a C3 dwellinghouse."


          So I take it that you made it an HMO before Oct 2010 and therefore required planning permission, and are now - so to speak - stuck in the lobster pot that the Govt removed at that point, caught on the hook of a charge which could not be imposed now.

          Given this complexity, the severity of the impact and the shortness of the timescales (you may lose the chance to do some tactical things when the Article 4 direction goes live next Feb), I'd suggest talking to a *local* and probably specialist planning consultant/Town Planner who has followed the strange journey of Oxford CC over the last 3 years.

          I'd go for a free initial meeting to get them to explain in outline what may be possible, the costs, benefits and costs, and then consider retaining them.

          Things you may be able to do would include appealing decisions (or elements of decisions) under planning law (have there been any appeals?).

          Personally, I think they are possibly taking the p with the parking permits removal thing, and that should you threaten to Appeal (which is free) the removal of the permits element of the decision then the costs they will incur will force them to be reasonable.

          Alternatively, there are certain criteria that need to be fulfilled for Section 106 to be used, and you may have been hoodwinked by a very 'creative' use of Section 106 which will collapse when examined.

          But I have no idea whether you can do a Planning Appeal on a Section 106 instrument, and in what circumstances.

          Can you create off street parking instead and just sidestep the whole parking issue - if it's not a classified road they may have trouble stopping you doing a drop kerb and porous hardstanding is now Permitted Development?.

          Perhaps going for a single family let (to which you can now change it back without needing Planning) would be the easiest route, if you can tidy up the Parking Permits thing. As an HMO you will be tangling with the Oxford CC Team HMO World Licensing Police.

          You need the right advice.

          It's all another case study in why kneejerk micro-restriction of a fluid market is bonkers. They'll learn, and I'm sorry you've been caught up in it.

          Refer Mad Regulators to Arkell vs Pressdram.



            Does your Unilateral Obligation have any interesting getout clauses in it?

            eg Not enforceable against anyone other than original owner (transfer property to wife, perhaps?).

            or this kind of thing:

            (k) This Deed shall be deemed to have been revoked and be of no effect (without any further act or deed on the part of either the Council or the Owner) if a Material Start has not taken place within 3 years of the date of this Deed or the Planning Permission having been granted shall be varied or revoked other than at the request of the Owner or the Planning Permission having been granted is quashed following a successful legal challenge"

            Source from a template doc.

            That latter suggests that if you go for family let, and never start the 'development' of changing it to an HMO, then the Obligation will just vanish when the development lapses, you will keep the permits and there will be nothing to be charged for.

            Refer Mad Regulators to Arkell vs Pressdram.



              I am in a very similar situation in Oxford-looking after my best mates place while he and family go to Africa for 5 years to advance his career. Have applied for a C3 to C4 change, all seemed fine, then the county council recommended the same sort of removal of parking permits, and a charge of £1500 for doing so.

              Does anyone have further thoughts on this?

              OP-how did you get on? Did you find anyone you would recommend locally that can guide me through this messy area?


                Hi there,

                sweet_f_a or colinstone, would you mind sharing what you ended up doing or any places you sought information or advice from.

                What information did you find about returning the parking permits if the change of use reverts back to a dwelinghouse? Presumably that would incur the costs once more?

                Any help would be greatly appreciated.


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