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Belfast HMO Subject Plan 2015
Policy HMO 6

Policy HMO 6 HMO Development
This policy includes change of use of house(s) and flat(s) to HMO(s), extension / alteration to house(s) and flat(s) used as HMO(s) or new build as HMO(s) and excludes purpose built student accommodation.
Planning permission will only be granted for HMO development where all of the following criteria are met:
  • Any HMO unit within a Policy Area does not exceed 4 bedrooms;
  • Any HMO unit is not wholly in the rear of the property and without access to the public street;
  • The original property is greater than 150 square metres gross internal floor space when any house is being converted to flats for HMO use;
  • All flats for HMO use are self-contained (i.e. having separate bathroom, w.c and kitchen available for use only by the occupiers);
  • Any approval for HMO development within a Policy Area will be subject to a condition restricting the maximum number of occupants to 4.
Policy HMO 6 is designed to protect the amenity of residential areas.
The number of bedrooms or occupants is restricted to 4 within an HMO which is within a Policy Area in order to promote the concept of smaller unit housing which can be more readily managed and controlled. It also protects the scale and character of some properties from over-development whereby the character of the area suffers detrimental change. If a change in the market should take place in future years, then houses converted to HMO use could be adapted or returned to family usage if this limit is set.
In order to protect existing housing stock which is still considered suitable for family occupation, a minimum size limit is placed on houses which will be permitted for conversion to flats for HMO development. This will be particularly relevant in streets of traditional two-storey 2 or 3 bedroom properties, which do not lend themselves to conversion due to the scale and nature of the existing property.
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