Public consultation on a proposal to manage the growth of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in Selly Oak, Harborne and Edgbaston

Closed 31 Jan 2014

Opened 29 Nov 2013

Feedback Updated 30 Jul 2015

We Asked

We notified you about Council’s proposal to introduce an Article 4 Direction to manage the growth of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in Selly Oak, Harborne and Edgbaston and also asked your opinion on this proposal.

You Said

We had 182 responses from a cross section of the community. We also had representations from landlord’s forums, community groups and the Guild of Students who presented a petition with 1300 signatures opposing them Article 4 Direction because they thought it would dictate where they lived. This was not the case and there was overwhelming support for the introduction of the Article 4 Direction with over 74% of those who commented, agreeing with the aims whilst 14% opposed it.

We Did

We took proactive steps to meet with the representatives from Landlord Forum, community groups and Guild of Students and explain the aims and they understood and appreciated this. Council confirmed the Direction and it came into force from 30th November 2014. Following the introduction of the Article 4 Direction for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in Selly Oak, Harborne and Edgbaston, Council also adopted an Article 4 HMO planning policy for the area.

Results Updated 30 Jul 2015

The City Council confirmed the Article 4 Direction and it came into force from 30th November 2014.

Attached response schedule includes all the comments received and Council’s responses to these comments and suggestions.


Consultation Period:

Friday 29th November 2013 to 31st January 2014.


A number of residents and organisations have raised concerns about the growth in the number of former family homes, now being occupied by groups of single people (referred to as Houses in Multiple Occupation – HMOs). If too many of these cluster together, they can put pressure on local services and the environment, thus affecting the lives of the permanent residents. 

Bournbrook, a popular location close to the University of Birmingham, is one such area, with the vast majority of its dwellings now being HMO’s. There is evidence that HMOs are now spreading into the surrounding areas of Selly Park, Selly Oak, Harborne and Edgbaston.

The Council believes that any further increase in the number of HMOs needs to be carefully managed and as such is now consulting on a proposal to introduce an Article 4 Direction to help achieve this.

The City Council will continue to monitor the conversion of family dwellings to shared accommodation and will consider issuing further Article 4 Directions should the evidence indicate that this is necessary.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is proposed?  

The council is considering the introduction of an Article 4 Area.

What is an Article 4 Area?

An Article 4 Direction removes certain ‘permitted development rights’ from property owners requiring them to apply for planning permission. If owners apply for planning permission to change the use of the property from a family dwelling to a small HMO (for example, for up to six independent people to live together), then the council has the ability to influence both how many further HMOs should be allowed and where they should be located.

For more frequently asked questions, please click here.

Please see the proposed Article 4 Direction area map outlined in red.


You can also view paper copy of  the public report, map and frequently asked questions at the following venues:

  • Selly Oak Library, 669 Bristol Road, B29 6AE
  • Harborne Library, High Street, B17 9QG
  • Guild of Students, Edgbaston Park Road, B15 2TU


A series of drop-in sessions and meetings are planned and you are welcome to come along and speak to us:




  • All residents
  • Councillors/MPs/MEPs
  • Students
  • Age All
  • Public Sector Bodies
  • Businesses
  • Faith groups
  • Community groups
  • Voluntary Organisations


  • Democracy and Participation
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Planning
  • Regeneration
  • Housing