Houses in Multiple Occupation SPD

About the Houses in Multiple Occupation SPD.

The Housing in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) are properties rented out to at least 3 people who are not from one household (for example such as a family) but share facilities like a bathroom or kitchen. Most HMOs are conversions or subdivisions of larger houses and currently, as at 2021, planning permission is only needed if providing 7 or more bedrooms. HMOs meet a variety of needs for private rented housing ranging from young professionals ‘house-shares’ and students wanting to live off campus, as well as providing a vital source of housing supply for people on lower incomes. For many people, HMOs provide a practical and affordable housing option that meets their housing needs. However, evidence shows that there has been an increase in this type of development in South Gloucestershire over recent years to meet demand. This has resulted in concentrations of HMOs in particular parts of the district which has, in some cases, heightened concerns from neighbouring properties and wider community with regard to parking pressures, noise, management of waste and recycling and anti-social behaviour, and in some cases has result in a perception that mixed communities are no longer supported. 

This SPD has been prepared to provide further guidance on the key issues and approach to considering applications for HMOs to support adopted planning policy contained within the South Gloucestershire Local Plan: Core Strategy (adopted 2013) Policy CS17 “Housing Diversity”, Policy PSP39 “Residential Conversions, Sub-division and Houses in Multiple Occupation”, Policy PSP8 “Residential Amenity” which addresses impacts on living conditions and amenities of neighbouring properties arising from new household developments and Policy PSP16 “Parking Standards”, which together should be taken as the primary policy basis for this SPD. This SPD aims to provide further guidance to support the council’s determination of planning applications to ensure that new HMO developments meet the requirements of our policies in terms of providing new housing, whilst ensuring this does not have a negative impact on the amenity of local residents and the character and amenity of local communities.

The SPD is primarily for use by prospective planning applicants, property developers and landowners. However, it is also intended to help local residents understand how the council applies its planning policies and what type of developments require planning permission, as not all HMOs require planning permission. It also explains the role of the HMO licencing regime which is a separate process that relates to HMOs which do, and do not, require planning permission. 

How to find out more and have your say.

The draft SPD is open for public consultation from Tuesday 11th May until Tuesday 22nd June 2021. 

  • View or download a copy of the draft SPD here
  • Provide us with your feedback here
  • Email:
  • Write to: South Gloucestershire Council Corporate Consultation Team,  Council Offices,  Badminton Road,  Yate, BRISTOL,  BS37 5AF

This consultation has now closed and we are analysing the results, which will be published here in due course.


  • Opened
    11 May 2021 at 00:00
  • Closed
    22 Jun 2021 at 23:59


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