Published: Tuesday, 25th April 2017

The licensing extension will ensure that more tenants have properly managed homes.

The Royal Borough's Cabinet on Wednesday night (19 April 2017) approved an extension of the Council's licensing scheme for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs).

Ensuring housing meets legal standards

HMO licensing helps to ensure that this type of housing meets legal health and safety standards, is well run and provides enough essential bathroom and kitchen facilities for tenants.

The Royal Borough is already legally obliged to license the largest HMOs that provide accommodation over three storeys or more to at least five residents. The policy approved on Wednesday night means that all HMOs in the borough will be required to have a license from 1 October 2017.

Concern about poor standards

The Royal Borough of Greenwich has been concerned about poor standards in the private rented sector for some time. In 2013 we invested extra money to establish a team of officers to tackle the worst standards in privately rented accommodation.

The team has visited over 1750 properties in total and carried out over 1330 formal investigations into unsatisfactory conditions. More than 2200 hazards to tenants' health or safety have been identified.

The majority of residents in favour of changes

An extensive public consultation was carried out and approximately 80 per cent of residents and tenants who responded were in favour of the changes.

The extended scheme will help the Royal Borough drive up accommodation standards and improve the management of HMOs. HMO tenants living in a licensed HMO can rent with confidence knowing that their landlord has passed a 'fit and proper person' check and that the property will be inspected by the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

Benefit to responsible landlords

The majority of local landlords manage their properties responsibly and voluntarily take action to repair defects when we ask them to. Licensing also benefits these landlords who can advertise a certified property to estate agents and prospective tenants showing that their property is maintained in a responsible manner and meets legal standards.

Challenging the rogue landlords

Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Environment Councillor Jackie Smith said: "This extension of licensing Houses in Multiple Occupation delivers on so many fronts - it will help us root out rogue landlords renting out sub-standard and often unsafe accommodation to their tenants. It will aid our targeting of over-crowded HMOs and the waste challenges that come with them such as overflowing bins and fly-tipping.

"This licensing extension also strengthens our resolve in challenging the minority of landlords imposing unacceptable tenancy agreements and conditions on renters often leading to the exploitation of minority groups and vulnerable tenants."

View the Council reports on the additional HMO licensing regulations

If you suspect an illegal HMO

If you are concerned that a private property may be overcrowded or operating illegally, you can contact the Royal Borough of Greenwich on