Use Class C3 – Dwellinghouses

Use Class C3 of the Use Classes Order 1987 (as amended) is for the use as dwellinghouses. i.e. Houses, Flats, Apartments, Bungalows etc.

The full description is for the use as a dwellinghouse (whether or not as a sole or main residence) by—

(a) a single person or by people to be regarded as forming a single household
(b) not more than six residents living together as a single household where care is provided for residents;
(c) not more than six residents living together as a single household where no care is provided to residents (other than a use within Class C4).

Interpretation of Class C3
For the purposes of Class C3(a) “single household” shall be construed in accordance with section 258 of the Housing Act 2004


Use Class C3

What constitutes a C3 dwelling? 

Therefore a C3 dwelling can fall into one of three subsections. It is not development to move between 3(a), 3(b) and 3(c) – this is made clear by Article 3 (1A) of the Use Class Order (UCO).  Article 4 of the UCO also makes it clear that if you create a separate dwellinghouse elsewhere within the curtilage this is development and needs planning.

Section 258 of the Housing Act 2004 defines how we should look at what constitutes a single household as far as C3 is concerned.

C3(b) might include supported housing schemes such as those for people with learning disabilities or mental health problems.

c3(c) might include those groupings that do not fall within the C4 HMO definition. For example a small religious community may fall into this section.

Section 258 also includes the line for a single household as  ‘their circumstances are circumstances of a description specified for the purposes of this section in regulations made by the appropriate national authority.’  In this legislation – we find the text that those working as au pair, nanny, nurse, carer, governess, servant, including maid, butler, cook or cleaner, chauffeur, gardener, secretary or personal assistant should be considered as part of the same single household.

The same legislation also covers the situation where a second person or family living within the property would also be considered part of the same single household. Beyond that it would fall into C4.

Neither the TCPA nor the UCO provides a definition of ‘dwellinghouse’. So we have to look towards case law. In Gravesham Borough Council v Secretary of State for the Environment (1982) P&CR 142, McCulloch J in the High Court was required to consider the definition of a dwelling house. He held that a distinctive characteristic of a dwellinghouse was its ability to afford to those who used it the facilities required for day-to-day private domestic existence.

Therefore despite Use Class C3 being referred as ‘Dwellinghouses’ in the UCO the phrase can be used by other uses such as C4, C1, C2 and indeed Sui Generis. This opens up Part 1 of the GPDO for extensions and suchlike to a wide range of uses beyond C3.

It is our view that a property converted to C3 via Class G is a legal dwelling which is then capable of further conversion to C4.

It was held in Valentino Plus Limited v. Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2015] EWHC 19 (Admin) that a proper interpretation of Class F (a previous incarnation of what is now Class G) “permits a change from a single planning unit to up to three planning units, that is to say one in A1 (now E) use and two flats” (paragraph 17 of the judgment). This gives extra weight to the ability to use Class L to convert to an HMO.

However as every circumstance could be different, the person considering applying Class L rights must asses as to whether their property is legally able to go from C3 to C4 having previously benefited from Class G change of use or indeed any other legislation. Of course, these rights may also be prevented via an Article 4 or other restrictions placed on the property.


Permitted Development Changes for Use Class C3

There are several permitted development rights to go from or to C3 from/to any other use class.

From another use to Use Class C3:

Class G – one or two flats (C3) above Use Class E, Payday Loan Shop, Betting Office
Class M – Sui Generis – Payday Loan Shop, Hot Food Takeaway, Launderette, Betting Office to C3
Class MA – Use Class E to C3
Class N – Sui Generis – Casino, Amusement Arcades to C3
Class Q – Sui Generis – Agricultural Building to C3
Class L – C4 HMO to C3

From Use Class C3 to another use:

Class L – C3 to C4 HMO
Class H – Reverses Class G as above

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Examples for Use Class C3

According to the Planning Geek directory of uses, C3 includes Bungalows, Flats, Group of up to 6 people living together as a single household, Group of up to 6 people living together with care, Homeowner with a lodger, Houses (use by single person or family), Maisonettes (use by single person or family), Supported Housing with care (up to 6 people), Extra Care Housing † & Sheltered Housing †.

† Sheltered Housing and Extra Care Housing are likely to be C3, unless care is needed by residents when it may fall into C2. Where care is simply available as and when required, doesn’t move it into C2.


Page Updated: 20th January 2024