Every HMO in Greenwich to be licensed

Every HMO in Greenwich to be licensed

10:18 AM, 5th May 2017, About 7 years ago 11

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Greenwich Council held a public consultation and ‘apparently’ 80% of residents were in favour of licensing all HMOs in the Area.

Previously only the standard definition of HMOs were required to be licensed by the council. This was for properties over three or more floors five or more tenants. Now it will apply to all HMOs from October 1st this year.

The Council is blaming the move on poor standards in the Private Rental Sector. This is based on figures from 2013 to date eg. 5 years showing there had been 1,330 formal investigations into poor property condition and over 2,200 individual hazards to health and safety reported.

The most common hazards were:

  • Safety risks from fire or substandard electrical installations or equipment
  • Health risks from living in damp, mouldy or excessively cold properties
  • Unsatisfactory kitchen or bathroom and toilet facilities

Greenwich Council have successfully prosecuted 8 landlords in total and the courts have imposed more than £20,000 in fines.

Jackie Smith, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Environment Councillor said: “This extension of licensing Houses in Multiple Occupation delivers on so many fronts it will help us root out rogue landlords renting out substandard and often unsafe accommodation to their tenants. It will aid our targeting of overcrowded 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.”

Further statistics from the full report, which can be seen here:
“The private rented sector in the Royal Borough has grown significantly with over 30,000 households renting privately. In percentage terms, private renting accounts for 29% of the number of households which compares to 17% nationally. The percentage of the private rented sector homes that are run as Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) is currently over 20% ( approximately 6,500 HMOs ). This is a significantly high proportion of the market.

“The Royal Borough recognises that many landlords operate responsibly; however, the Royal Borough is concerned about those who rent out HMOs that fail to provide acceptable conditions. There are concerns about poorly managed HMOs with poor tenancy arrangements. Since 2013, the Royal Borough has operated a proactive enforcement programme aimed at tackling rogue landlords. A high level of the properties inspected have been found to be HMOs (78%) and of those the vast majority had hazards to health and safety or management/tenancy issues that required enforcement action. Inspections often uncover overcrowded HMOs, outbuildings being used to accommodate people (Beds in Sheds), unsanitary conditions and exploitation of tenants.”

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david porter

10:40 AM, 5th May 2017, About 7 years ago

Mortgage lenders now require 40% equity for new HMO. The section 24 Finance act treatment of interest is an additional item.
There will be less accomadation for single people at an affordable rent.
I know the landlords will get the blame.


11:17 AM, 5th May 2017, About 7 years ago

here you go, the Greenwich council's failure to deal with a few rogue landlords and bring them to justice, they opted to licence all landlords! Majority of whom are good as claimed by them, so you impose this dreadful waste of time, scheme truly meant to raise revenue, because they issue licenses to all landlords who apply for one, without first inspecting the properties, imagine you apply for an MOT for your car, ticking all items and declaring them that they are all safe and complies with regulations, and you get your MOT certificate without your car being inspected! this proves that this Selective Licensing scheme is purely and simply a ploy to raise revenue!

This fast spreading cancerous scheme so called Selective Licensing was first introduced by incompetent bunch at Newham, who could not manage to prosecute a few rogue landlords under the existing powers they had. So they introduced this scheme, to raise revenue, all under the pretence of anti-social behaviour, and getting rid of bad landlords, so even a bad landlord applying for a license gets one. But look at the charges for the licence, so it will become very clear and it demonstrates it is for claiming to keep Council taxes low or frozen, but they found an alternative way to raise additional revenue. Sickening!

Cautious Landlord

12:00 PM, 5th May 2017, About 7 years ago

Congratulations Greenwich Council. Just at a time when more tenants will be forced to consider HMO housing as s24 increases rents across the board through dwindling supply and ever increasing demand - they provide an incentive to not create any more HMO's and even de-convert some. Thus increasing rents further. Duh ! What a bunch of muppets unless their real motive is just grabbing some more money to waste in which case they are cynical muppets !

Anne Noon

12:18 PM, 5th May 2017, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "david porter" at "05/05/2017 - 10:40":

Try Precise, I have just done an HMO with them and they will give you up to 80% of the value. I am well pleased with that.!!

Dr Rosalind Beck

13:19 PM, 5th May 2017, About 7 years ago

Saying that the majority of residents are in favour of an expensive scheme targetting landlords which will bring in revenue for the council is rather like saying 27 member states of the EU are in favour of charging a massive exit fee to the UK. Uh, yes most people are happy about the idea of charging someone else loads of money which will then go into their coffers.

Gary Dully

23:27 PM, 5th May 2017, About 7 years ago

The same idea is now being discussed with Sefton Council and I anticipate it will become the norm fairly soon.


9:52 AM, 6th May 2017, About 7 years ago

The licensing fee is one thing, but then there are all the costs that come after inspections by over-prescriptive EHOs: fire-proofing under the staircase treads; wired-in fire alarms with illuminated signs and over-sensitive detectors that constantly trip when someone makes a piece of toast; compulsory double-glazing; compulsory replacement of all the original Victorian doors with faceless fire doors and self-closers that the tenants block open with the fire extinguishers because they hate the constantly banging doors; obligatory bike sheds that no-one uses for fear of theft; compulsory annual inspections for smoke alarms, electrical systems, Legionnaire's Disease, small appliances; maybe sinks in every room and/or a bathroom for every two people - the list just goes on and on, all because a house is shared by more than two people rather than a single person or couple.

Next step after compulsory licensing of all rental properties with more than two unrelated persons will be the introduction of compulsory planning designations for HMOs, which once imposed cannot be returned to the status of a normal family home without a heavy-duty and difficult planning application. This will provide the council with a regular revenue stream, an opportunity to charge business rates or council tax on a per-room basis, and a known supply of HMOs that it can monitor and control, as it does with hotels and guest houses; it will cause immense damage to the value of the property because it can only be sold to another HMO landlord, not a regular owner-occupier . All of this will be done using the excuses of safety and "professionalisation", the aim being to drive small HMO landlords (and those who switch between HMO and regular renting depending on demand) out of the market because they are perceived as in-principle exploitative and abusive to always-"vulnerable" single people seeking affordable accommodation in the private sector.

Larry Sweeney

11:10 AM, 6th May 2017, About 7 years ago

I completely concur with the comments of Mike and Rosalind. Sefton Council are also starting the consultation charade. This process is a complete farce as the HA 2004 requires the zealots to undertake a consultation.. It is window dressing, and I state here in advance of the consultation that I am 100% sure the schemes will be introduced. These schemes are fantastic for councils, as it enables them to keep their useless honchos in employment, many of these individuals are unemployable in the private sector. Secondly as most councils are tethering on bankruptcy because of dreadful fiscal management, this licensing scam is a nice tax to replenish their empty coffers.
The reality is that landlords can do little. What we can do however is embarrass the councils, hold them to account on every minute issue, hammer them with emails and video record all property inspections.
Let us show them that while they may have the ability to abuse statutory powers, that it will cost them in terms of time etc. The relentless onslaught against the PRS has gone too far and the bodies who purport to represent us have failed miserably. Do we continue whinging or do we start giving these councils grief on a daily basis and question them about every single issue. Let every landlord on property 118 hammer their local authority, question every visit, every enforcement notice, query their DPA practises, ensure that the honchos coming to inspect are made aware that the landlord on his property may video record the inspection for audit trail purposes. Post their cockups on forums, there will be many as they are so incompetent. Write complaints to councillors behind these schemes. They hate this approach and may try to get you banned as a vexatious complainant. This is what good old Liverpool council do, when a stakeholder has the audacity to advance legitimate questions. Let us show these bodies that the attack on us has crossed the line. The term "criminal" landlord is not appropriate. The overwhelming majority of landlords are hones,t tax compliant hard working entrepreneurs. Enough is Enough.

Rob Crawford

15:48 PM, 6th May 2017, About 7 years ago

Without a doubt many of the non mandatory licensed HMO's will fail the initial licensing criteria as they will have been considered previously as small dwellings that do not require the same degree of safety features. This will be used to unfairly justify this all inclusive licensing strategy.

Dr Rosalind Beck

16:32 PM, 6th May 2017, About 7 years ago

And what is Gavin Barwell doing to stop it? He has gone on record as being opposed to licensing because he says it constitutes a 'tenant tax. He needs to get his arse into gear and come out against this and also the other 'tenant tax,' and get a law passed which stops licensing in its tracks. I'd also like a gigantic refund of all the cash we've had to hand to the councils. They write whatever they want on the cheques which we then have to sign and that money goes directly to them. It's a corrupt system.

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