When Exeter City Council introduced regulations to curb the spread of new HMO’s in areas around the University it was intended to make life better for families living in these streets. This is generally the case, unless you happen to find yourself living in a terraced house with students on either side.


If this is the case, then you’re likely to have a bit of a problem. Historically, student landlords would have snapped up such properties and paid a premium for them too. However, in the areas covered by Exeter City Council’s ‘Article 4 Directive’, converting family dwellings to houses of multiple occupancy is no longer allowed.


Southgate Estates have been marketing a property on Blackboy Road without success for this very reason. However, after studying the terms of the directive in more detail, Southgate Estates director, Jonathan Newall, persuaded the vendors that it should fall into the exceptional circumstances clause of the Article 4.


Having demonstrated that the property would not sell as a family home, the vendors put a planning application in for change of use to C4. Initial feedback from the council indicated that it was unlikely to succeed and may need to go to appeal at a regional level, however, with the help of Southgate Estates and some local architects, the application proved successful.


Normally when a property fails to sell after a year of marketing, estate agents would suggest reducing the price. On this occasion, as the property now had C4 planning for use an an HMO, Southgate Estates recommended the price was substantially increased and within 2 weeks, Southgate Estates had 3 offers (all over the asking price) on the table from would-be investors.


If you are affected in a similar way, please do get in touch with Southgate Estates, who will be more than happy to advise you on the best way forward.

June 2016