Planning Portal

Belfast HMO Subject Plan 2015
Policy HMO 5

Policy HMO 5 HMO Development outside designated HMO Policy Areas and designated HMO Development Nodes
Outside designated HMO Policy Areas and designated HMO Development Nodes, planning permission will only be granted for further HMO development where as a result the number of HMOs does not exceed 10% of dwelling units on that road or street.
Where such a street or road is in excess of 600 metres in length, planning permission will only be granted for further HMO development where as a result the number of HMOs does not exceed 10% of dwelling units within 300 metres either side of the proposal on that road or street.
Policy HMO 5 is designed to protect the amenity of residential areas and promote balanced communities.
Approximately 7% of dwellings in Belfast are HMOs. Setting a limit of 10% will allow a degree of managed and controlled growth in this market. The 10% limit is considered to be sufficient to accommodate approximately 50% of single persons under the age of 60 in Belfast City Council Area.
In most circumstances the policy can be applied without reference to the 300 metre requirement. The purpose of the 300 metre requirement is to prevent excessive concentrations on longer streets or roads.
Planning Service, in conjunction with the NIHE, will maintain a database of HMOs which will monitor the number of HMOs in each Policy Area. In circumstances where an applicant disagrees with Planning Service’s assessment on the number of HMOs in a given area or considers that the property was already an HMO at November 2004 when the Planning (Use Classes) Order (Northern Ireland) 2004 was introduced, then the applicant will be afforded an opportunity to provide evidence and demonstrate otherwise.  .
In circumstances which are dependant upon a change of use of another property away from an HMO, then a legally binding agreement may be necessary. The number of HMOs within each Policy Area is contained in Appendix 3. The level of multiple occupation within an area, whether designated or not, will be measured by:
  1. the number of HMOs recorded by the NIHE at November 2004, plus
  2. the number of HMO development units subsequently approved by the Department, plus
  3. the number of extant permissions for HMO development units
A breach of the 10% limit on further HMO development for existing HMOs may be acceptable providing it does not give rise to intensification including an increase in the number of bedrooms or the number of occupants. For example, a proposal to convert an existing eight bedroom HMO to two four bedroom HMO flats may be acceptable, providing there is no increase in the number of occupants.
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