THREE landlords have been given six months to stop using their properties as houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) after losing appeals against Oxford City Council.

The individuals were letting out converted family houses in Grays Road and Valentia Road, East Oxford, to multiple unrelated tenants without planning permission.

Earlier this year the properties came to light when the landlords applied for HMO licenses and planning enforcement officers issued enforcement notices after permission was refused. Despite this, the properties continued to be used as HMOs and an appeal was lodged.

The Planning Inspector said that using the properties as HMOs without specific justification "would undermine the objectives of the council's housing policies", adding: "The quality of the internal space and facilities does not overcome the harm caused to the residential character of the area due to the over-concentration of HMOs."

Alex Hollingsworth, the council's board member for planning and regulatory services, said: “This shows that the Article 4 Directive we introduced in 2012 to control the number of new HMOs can be enforced. I welcome the Planning Inspector’s supportive comments on the Council’s policies on controlling HMO numbers.

"What would be even better and quicker for everyone involved would be a change in the law so that councils could refuse to issue an HMO licence where there is no planning permission.”