PBSA Temporary Planning Permission Tips

Purpose built student accommodation (PBSA) is no stranger to vacant units. Traditionally, units are unoccupied over the Summer period. But units can be filled and revenue increased by implementing a short term letting strategy during these periods.

But is the demand there?

Yes! Students are looking for more flexibility, protection against unexpected changes in the attendance requirements due to Covid-19, and speed in choosing and booking the required stay.

Plus, you can accommodate non-students to generate additional earnings and bolster your assets, and the local council holds the key to it.

Building Use Classes

It is no secret that we need more flexibility in the Use Classes. These are very specific and determine very strictly what a building is used for. What we need is more flexible and efficient use of the real estate and local councils enabling landlords to vary the occupants in order to respond and meet the demand for the available spaces.

Even though the Use Classes are strictly dictating what occupants can be accommodated in a building, if a newly built scheme is unable to fill in the voids in the first year of its operation, then temporary change of use is encouraged in order to enable more opportunities for the asset and the local community and travellers.

CA non-Material Amendment may be required to allow for non-student occupation for a certain period of time, and this should be applied for via the local council.

Tips for temporary planning permission

In order to lawfully accommodate short lets for a certain period of time in a building clearly designated as Student Accommodation, you might proceed with a Non-Material Amendment to allow for non-student occupation between certain dates on a short term let C1 Use basis as is required.

The application process consists of the following key components:

  • Consult with a Planning Consultant in order to ensure that you are getting all paperwork right.
  • Prepare a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Form
  • Write a Student Management Plan Addendum. Describe clearly the intent, how the bookings will be managed, how the payments will be handled, arrivals and departures management, additional cleaning and maintenance, security measures, and how would all fit into the current operation and student accommodation management set up.
  • Letter addressing the Case Officer preferably written by Agent Company Director.
  • Local Council Application Form where is described the non-material amendment(s) sought - this is a Non-Material Amendment to allow for non-student occupation between [start date- end date] on a short term let C1 Use basis.
  • Enclose appropriate architectural plans

The timeline for the decision varies. Once published, the decision will clearly state if a variation to the Section 106 planning agreement that allows for additional non-student occupation on a short term basis up to a certain period of time as per the official application is approved. The variation will not replace the original planning permission.

Staykeepers support our PBSA clients throughout this process. Our system is the tech, but the delivery is all about the people - helping you to successfully offer short term lets without the hassle of internal management.

For more information, click here to contact us.

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