It is my understanding, having spoken with the principal planning officer yesterday afternoon, that should the Article 4 directive secure approval in August 2011, the date by which you must have established use as C4 would be February 24th 2012. However, use established by this date would not be subject to planning permission.
Whilst officers and elected members in Oxford see this requirement to secure planning permission as a mechanism for reducing the negative impact of HMOs on certain parts of the city, there are still many unanswered questions around how it will be policed, and whether or not there is actually material change of use between C3 and C4 usage; the latter will have to be established through case law, and may take some time.
In authorities where planning permission is required, the question of material change has already been raised. Is there any difference in the way a property is used when it is occupied by a family with three teenage children or by four young adult sharers? If there is no material change in the way it is used, it could be argued that there can be no requirement for planning permission.
It remains difficult to see how this ill-conceived piece of legislation can have any long-term future in a property market that is already suffering from increased knee-jerk intervention in what appears to be an attempt to impose political control.
I heard yesterday from a landlord who is going to have to issue a section 21 notice to a delightful couple who are renting his four bed (4 bath) property, despite the fact that they want to renew, because he needs to establish C4 usage. This bizare, Kafkaesque situation, may actually be a contrevention of human rights legislation.......... it is almost certainly discriminatory practice that is being foisted on the unsuspecting landlord by a local authority that would see itself as pretty "right on". I thought that all this was supposed to ensure more family accomodation available in the PRS in Oxford?