This is not a national licensing scheme and only applies when an individual council imposes a regulation that requires the licensing of other shared properties. I.e if a council imposes a policy whereby any HMO (regardless of having 5 or more people) may need to have a license. We would advise to check the local council website regarding additional licensing and its implementation on a local level.
Article 4 Direction
An Article 4 Direction allows a council to withdraw permitted development rights for specific development works or changes of use. In regards to the Article 4, it is the withdrawal of the permitted development rights that would have previously allowed houses to be converted into HMOs without planning permission.
This direction is in relation to the change of a C3 Dwelling House to a C4 Small HMO (3-6 residents) and in the case of the Article 4 Direction it would be the requirement of the council for owners to apply for planning permission.
Class C4 of the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 provides for the use of a dwelling house as an HMO by not more than 6 residents; that is up to 6 unrelated individuals who share basic amenities.
A dwelling house that is let to more than 6 people is classed as ‘sui generis’ which means a class of its own. Planning permission is required for a material change from any use class to sui generis use.