Containing self-contained units does not prevent a property being a house in multiple occupation

19 Dec 2022

Planning and Environment

Welwyn Hatfield BC v Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities [2022] EWHC 3175 (Admin)

Mr Kabala owned a single dwelling house. He sub-divided and converted the house without obtaining planning permission, notwithstanding an applicable article 4 direction. The council issued an enforcement notice asserting that he had unlawfully sub-divided the house into five self-contained flats. Mr Kabala brought a ground (b) appeal, asserting that the matters complained of by the council had not occurred. On appeal, the inspector found that the house had been converted into four self-contained flats with two further bedrooms sharing facilities. He also found that it was a house in multiple occupation within the meaning of s.254 Housing Act 2004 and Use Class C4. And he quashed the enforcement notice.

The council sought, and was granted, permission to appeal against that determination, arguing that the inspector had erred in law or alternatively had given insufficient reasons. On appeal, the Deputy Judge held that it is in principle possible for a building that contains self-contained dwelling houses to in any event continue to be a dwelling house itself (a prerequisite to falling within Use Class C4). And that on the facts of this case the inspector had been entitled to conclude that the said house, as a whole, fell within Use Class C4.

Riccardo Calzavara, of Cornerstone Barristers, appeared for the local planning authority.

Please download the judgment here.