HMO but no requirement to register - do I need planning permission?

Hi all, I own a four bedroom house that is rented to a group of 4 friends on a single tenancy. I’m a newish landlord and I recently read that I need to register for a landlord’s license because my tenants aren’t considered a single household under the law. I read the rules from my Local Authority (Southwark)'s website, which fortunately states that only HMOs with 5 or more tenants require a license (this is important as I understand that my tenants would be able to request a large refund on rent paid when the property wasn’t licensed. However, the Southwark website isn’t clear on whether I need to apply for planning permission for the property as an HMO. The tenancy is not an HMO tenancy, and the tenants all live together as one household (although not in the legal definition I believe). Is anyone in a similar situation and can shed some light please?

Thanks, Steve

As you say, your property is an HMO and all the HMO Management Regulations will apply, along with the requirement for a Fire Risk Assessment.

A quick look at the Southwark website suggests that they do have an Additional and Selective licensing scheme in place, but that this ends today and they are not replacing it immediately. It does suggest that they may replace it in the near future though so you had better stay vigilant. As it stands, you don’t now have to apply for a licence.

If your property has been operating as a licensable HMO up to this point, you may still be liable to a fine or penalty from the local authority, or a Rent Repayment Order from Southwark or from the tenants. Nothing much you can do about that except keep your fingers crossed.