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Supplementary Planning Documents and Planning Statements

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7. HMO (including Class C4 Uses) SPD and Article 4 Direction

Please note: Planning permission is required for new HMOs that fall in the Article 4 Area. HMO Licence approval does not mean that you have automatic planning permission in that same way that planning permission does not guarantee a licence will be granted.

We have made an "Article 4 Direction" that restricts home owners 'Permitted Development' rights to use their property as houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) within Class C4 of the Use Classes Order. See ‘Article 4 Direction Map Jan 2014’ below.

Further planning controls are needed due to the continued growth of student houses in the area which is leading to imbalanced communities. In some streets up to 80% of properties are entirely occupied by students.

We have also given further consideration to the planning policies that we will apply when determining planning applications for HMO uses within the area where consent will be required. See ‘Houses in Multiple Occupation SPD Jan 2014’ below.



In April we introduced a "Signboards Protocol" the purpose of which is to secure agreement from letting agents to display less signboards in an area of the city where there are complaints that there are excessive numbers and to avoid the need for us to seek additional controls on signboards.

Letting Agent Signboards Protocol


On 21 January 2014 Executive agreed an amended Supplementary Planning Document to apply further restrictions on HMOs to comprise the entire area subject to the Article 4 Direction.

Planning Member Working Group on 11 June 2013 and Executive on 17 September 2013, resolved to undertake public consultation on amending the adopted SPD to extend the area covered by restrictions on further HMOs to the entire area covered by the Article 4 Direction. This involved extending the area to part of Duryard and Pennsylvania wards and two areas of Newtown ward where the proportion of Council Tax exemptions at the end of May 2013 was between 10% and 20%. The public consultation was from 30 September, when notices were erected, until 15 November. The result of the consultation was clearly in favour of the proposed amended SPD.

A copy of the Executive report, revised SPD and map are below:

HMO Executive Report Jan 2014
Houses in Multiple Occupation SPD Jan 2014
Article 4 Direction Map Jan 2014

September 2013

We propose to amend the SPD (link below) that was adopted in July 2011. The document provides guidance on the interpretation of Criterion B of the Exeter Local Plan Policy H5. This relates to the creation of imbalanced communities as a result of proposals for houses in multiple occupation, in particular, shared student houses. There has been a significant increase in shared student houses as a result of expansion by the University of Exeter. The revised SPD will place a restriction on further HMOs across the whole of the Article 4 Direction area.

On 17 September 2013 our Executive agreed to undertake consultation (until 15 November) on the proposal to amend the current SPD to apply a further restriction on HMOs more widely to comprise the entire area that is subject to a previous Article 4 Direction which came into effect on 1 January 2012. If adopted, this will mean that restriction will be applied to four areas where the current level of HMOs is calculated to be below 20%. These are:

  • Duryard (part)           16.4%
  • Newtown (part)         11.1%
  • Newtown (part)         12.0%
  • Pennsylvania (part)  14.5%

A copy of the Executive Report and draft document are given below:

HMO Executive Report and Draft SPD


Any representations on this draft SPD should be sent via our Contact Us form, or in writing to: Exeter City Council, Civic Centre, Paris Street, Exeter, EX1 1NN. If you have any queries please telephone 01392 265223.

August 2012

Article 4 Map Aug 2012

10 July 2012 

Report to Planning Member Working Group July 2012 re: issues with the adopted HMO (including Class C4 Uses) SPD
Members noted the report (above), in particular, that there is no significant change in Pennsylvania ward and that the policy restriction at 20%, with annual monitoring, remains appropriate. A policy restriction will now be applied in the part of St David's ward covered by the Article 4 Direction. A clear statement and plan of where the restriction now applies is provided in the above report. There is no formal amendment to the HMO SPD (below).

5 July 2011

Background information

Article 4 press notice

Final article 4 report

Article 4 direction document

Responses by street

Adopted Houses in multiple occupation SPD

House in multiple occupation adoption statement

Article 4 Final Map

Article 4 Second Consultation Responses

HMO Report to Executive Committee July 2011_includes Consultation Statement

August 2010

Issues relating to Houses in Multiple Occupation

Issues relating to Houses in Multiple Occupation Plan 1

Issues relating to Houses in Multiple Occupation Plan 2

April 2010

Procedure Note regarding greater planning control over Houses in Multiple Occupation

February 2010

Government proposals for greater planning controls on HMO's

June 2009

University Related Issues June 2009

October 2008

University Annual Monitoring Report

February 2008

Student Accommodation Development in Residential Areas Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG)