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).
From 1 January 2024 you will also need to licence an Additional HMO.
As of 1 October 2022, you must have a licence to rent single-household properties under our 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
Our new additional licensing scheme begins from 1 January 2024.
The scheme will operate alongside our existing mandatory HMO licensing scheme so from 1 January, most HMOs in Greenwich will need to be licensed.
Additional licensing mainly covers smaller HMOs, which are occupied by 3 or more people living in 2 or more households where facilities are shared. Approval for this scheme was granted on 20 September 2023.
Our previous Additional HMO licensing scheme ended on 30 September 2022.
If you had an existing Additional HMO Licence under the previous scheme, you will be able to renew your existing licence on the renewal date. If your license expired during the period between 30 September 2023 and 1 January 2024, you will need to make a new application.
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
- it’s a building that has been converted into self-contained flats (although individual flats within it that are HMOs will need to be licensed)
- i’s a converted building that contains at least one non-self-contained unit and is occupied by 4 or fewer people. Individual flats within the building that are HMOs will need to be licensed
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).
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.