Rise in red tape will choke landlords and ‘push up rents’

Thousands of tenants, students and buy-to-let investors will be hit by new laws forcing landlords to apply for planning permission if they want to rent a property to three or more people. Landlord associations have criticised the Government’s proposals, which will bring down from six to three the number of unrelated people who can rent a property together before planning permission is needed from local authorities. The legislation will affect only properties that register for a ‘change of use’ (for example, converting a family home into flats), and will not affect pre-existing houses of multiple occupation (HMOs) that are rented out to three or more tenants. There are more than 400,000 registered HMOs, and these will fall within the new legislation only if their landlords change the tenancy arrangements.