Milton Keynes Council (backed by Newcastle and Oxford City Councils) has been granted permission to apply for a judicial review of the Government's decision to change the planning rules for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO).

The Town & Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment) (No 2) (England) Order 2010 provides that with effect from 1 October 2010 changes of use from Class C3 (dwelling houses) to Class C4 (HMO) are permitted development. A number of councils have contested this change. They fear that a lack of restrictions on HMO development could adversely affect the character, noise and population density of their cities.  

The councils claim that the changes in the regulations were made without adequately consulting local authorities and that at the time of the consultation the decision had effectively already been made. They want stronger powers to use Article 4 directions (requiring planning permission for a change of use to Class C4) with immediate effect across their district. They also seek the removal of the right for prospective HMO landlords to claim compensation for potential loss of earnings.