If you wish to let out a property to three people you may now have to have planning permission.  The new rule (from April 6th) applies to landlords wishing to rent to three or more people from two or more family units.  Previously, landlords needed a licence (but not planning permission) to let to five or more people from two family units living over three or more floors.

Planning permission can take weeks to obtain and involves a fee together with the time and expense of preparing the application.  The reason for the new rule is apparently that the government is concerned about complaints from people in university towns about nuisances created by students living in houses in multiple occupation.

It seems almost certain that this will reduce the availability of private rented accommodation.  The National Union of Students have written to the Government expressing their concerns and the Residential Landlords’ Association has handed in a petition at Downing Street.  This will be of little comfort if you are caught by the rule; the best advice is to check whether it affects your property and if so apply for permission as soon as you can. Some landlords are concerned this may also have a knock on effect to let property insurance if  the appropiate planning permissions are not held.

If you are rent out any property you must have appropriate residential landlord insurance and you for some insurers you must notify them of the type of tenancy involved, otherwise any claims may not be covered.