Check if you need a Private Rented Property Licence

You must have a licence to let each property in Royal Greenwich which you operate as a Mandatory House in Multiple Occupation (HMO).

As of 1 October 2022, you must now have a licence to rent single-household properties under our new Selective Licensing scheme, in Woolwich Riverside, Woolwich Common, Shooters Hill, Plumstead Common and Plumstead Glyndon wards. Check to see if your property falls under the new designated area.

If you don’t have a licence for a property which needs one, you could face an unlimited fine on prosecution or a financial penalty of up to £30,000.

If you are not sure what an HMO is, refer to our HMO guide for landlords.

If you are not sure what selective licensing, is read our Selective Licensing FAQs.

Additional HMO Licensing

Royal Borough of Greenwich’s Additional HMO licensing scheme ends on 30 September 2022.

We will soon be consulting on a proposal to introduce another five-year scheme from April 2023. This means that for a short period, we will not require you to licence smaller HMOs (three or more unrelated tenants).

If you have an existing Additional HMO Licence, provided a further scheme is approved, the licence will continue until the five year expiry date. You will be able to renew your existing licence on the due date to save on costs. It is proposed that current licence fees will remain in place until April 2024.  

If you do not have a current licence in place, and you have operated an HMO which should have been licensed under the Additional Licensing scheme during the five years from 1 October 2017 until 30 September 2022, then enforcement action for failure to license during this period may still be taken. 

If you have recently submitted an application for an Additional HMO Licence and it has not been issued, from 1 October you may apply for a refund of your fees. We can also keep your application and process it after a new scheme is in place, subject to a new scheme being approved.

We will not be able to process new applications (or renewals which expire during the period when no scheme is in place) for Additional HMO Licences after the end of the current scheme. 

HMO properties that do not need a licence

By law, some HMOs do not need an HMO licence. These exemptions are set by the government, not the Council. 

You do not need an HMO licence if the property is exempted by law, for example if:

  • it does not currently have a tenant living in it, or it will not be let
  • it's for student accommodation such as halls of residence, but only if it's directly managed by an educational institution
  • the rooms or dwellings are let as short-term accommodation on a commercial basis - for example a 'host family' arrangement for foreign students, a holiday let, or Airbnb (but if one room is let as the main residence of a tenant, the property may need a licence)
  • it is part of a Shared Lives or similar adult placement scheme where up to three adult placements, plus their carers, live at the property
  • the Council places tenants into the property under the Royal Borough of Greenwich social lettings scheme
  • it's managed by a Registered Provider (such as a housing association or registered social landlord), or the Council
  • it's a purpose-built block of flats (although individual flats that are HMOs will need to be licensed)
  • it's occupied principally for the purposes of a religious community whose principal occupation is prayer, contemplation, education or the relief of suffering
  • it's run or managed by public bodies such as the police or probation services

Properties that do not need a selective licence

  • the property is an HMO that already requires a licence under a mandatory HMO or additional HMO licensing scheme
  • the tenancy or licence has been granted by a registered social landlord under Part I of the Housing Act 1996
  • the property is subject to an Interim or Final Management Order under Part 4 of the Housing Act 2004 (i.e. the council have taken over the management of the property)
  • the property is covered by a temporary exemption notice
  • the property is occupied under an exempt tenancy or licence, as defined in the Selective Licensing of Houses (Specified Exemptions) (England) Order 2006

Please note: There are no exemptions for registered housing charities.

Royal Greenwich has a statutory duty (section 232 of the Housing Act 2004) to make and maintain HMO registers. What goes in the registers is also defined by law (The Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation and Other Houses (Miscellaneous Provisions) (England) Regulations 2006).

View the HMO licence register

Download a list of licensed HMOs

If you have an HMO outside of Royal Greenwich, you'll need to check with the relevant local authority to find out if you need a licence.