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propertylawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 288
Experience:  Property Solicitor with expertise in commercial and residential property transactions.
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I want to buy a house in the Wandsworth borough to make a

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Hi there. I want to buy a house in the Wandsworth borough to make a family home however its current established use with the council is that of an HMO.
Is it possible for me to purchase this with my planned use in mind, or will I have to get the HMO licence revoked? Will I be fined if I make this my family home, or be made to run this house as an HMO?
It is a pretty run down property (the only way I can afford to upsize) and It's being sold as a vacant property. I'm not sure how long it's been vacant but as it needs a large amount of work and with dubious plumbing and electrics, I can't imagine it's been lived in as a HMO as the council have standards of upkeep don't they?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Forgot to mention its HMO with 7 bedsits and likely vacant for some time but unsure how long.


A property used as a hmo is classified as c4 under the town and country planning use classes order. A residence for a family is c3.

Therefore you will need to change the use.

This is very simple as a change from c4 to c3 is permitted development.

You will need to put in a planning application to the council but it will be approved under permitted development.


Best to apply for a lawful development certificate. You can do it online.

Do you have any questions or queries in respect of my answer? I am happy to assist further.

Please can I kindly request that you accept /positive rate my reply otherwise the website will not pay me for assisting you today. Many thanks.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I was under the impression that for HMO for 6 people or more requires planning permission to revoke, and is therefore Not under permitted development and therefore not guaranteed to be approved? Do I understand correctly?

I know that to change c3 to hmo exceeding 6 people needs full planning.

Check with the council to see it it is registered as a c4 or sui generis.

If a full application is required, speak to the council first to establish if application is likely to be accepted. The process is 8 weeks. You could enter into a conditional contract to buy > conditional on grant of planning. If you get it you complete, if not you walk away.

Another alternative is a lock out agreement, the seller will not deal with anyone else during the lock out. Period needs to be long enough to cover the 8 week planning process.

Apologies, I started to type before your additional note that it was 7 bedsits. I am responding on a mobile phone with a small screen.

I think the property will be classified sui generis and therefore will require a full application.


Via planning portal you can apply for the full application.

To cover your position, just in case planning is refused, proceed with a conditional contract or lock out agreement. Speak to planning department of council before making the application to establish what they may require from you in your application.

Please remember to accept /positive rate.

Do come back to me with any questions or queries.

Kind regards.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for the info. I have already spoken to the council informally and they indicated they would be "very resistant" to revoking the HMO. I wanted to know whether they could legally stop me from living in the house as a single dwelling and renovating it as a family home, or make me run the house as HMO if I'm not inclined to apply for HMO licence, as when a property is sold the HMO licence doesn't transfer over and new owner must reapply. And if so whether there are any considerations that would make them see more in my favour.

If you do so without permission you will be in breach of planning and the local authority can take enforcement action against you. If you proceed without there is a 4 year limit within which the local planning authority can take enforcement action.

As to what considerations you can put forward, the planning authority does have considerable discretion and is generally not bound by any previous decision it has made. Have you spoken to a surveyor?

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