A house of multiple occupation (HMO) that was previously deemed to be "unlawful" by Stevenage Borough Council has now been granted a Lawful Development Certificate (LDC).

The terraced property in York Road has seven bedrooms and is classed as a large HMO, which requires planning permission to be granted.

But if the owners of a large HMO can prove that the property has been operating as an HMO for ten years or more, they must be granted an LDC, meaning they become exempt from any enforcement action.

An HMO is a shared house occupied by individuals who share basic amenities but do not form a single household.

The owners of the property in York Road had applied to Stevenage Borough Council (SBC) for an LDC earlier this year, and said that the house had been operating as a HMO since tenants first arrived in July 2011.

But the council decreed it to be "not lawful" in April 2023, and said that the evidence submitted failed to prove that the property had been operating continuously as a large HMO for at least ten years.


The owner then reapplied for an LDC and presented fresh evidence. SBC planning officers concluded that "on the balance of probabilities", the evidence showed that the property had been continuously operating as an HMO for more than ten years, and recommended that an LDC be granted.

The decision was signed off by SBC's planning committee at a meeting on October 31, 2023.

At the same meeting, another HMO also received confirmation of an LDC. The owners of a six-bedroom property in Ripon Road said that it had become an HMO in 2015 - two years before a Stevenage-wide directive was introduced requiring all HMOs to apply for planning permission.

The owner sought an LDC to confirm that it was lawful for the property to be used as an HMO, and this was also granted by the council.