News

Failure to apply for an HMO licence results in £40,000 penalty for four Royal Greenwich landlords

Tuesday, July 7, 2020 - Royal Borough of Greenwich

Housing civil penalty notice

Since October 2017, it has been a legal requirement for all Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in the Royal Borough of Greenwich to be licensed. This includes house and flat shares occupied by three or more people who are not all related, even if they all move in together on one tenancy agreement.  

According to the council, four local landlords have each been issued with a £10,000 civil penalty for failing to apply for a licence, making £40,000 in total. 

The council say that their licensing scheme protects tenants by ensuring landlords are held responsible for meeting certain standards, such as fire and general safety, as well as ensuring the property is in good condition.

The unlicensed properties included:

  • a two-bedroom HMO in Plumstead rented to four separate tenants
  • a five-bedroom HMO in Charlton rented to seven separate tenants
  • a three-bedroom HMO in Woolwich rented to three separate tenants and
  • a three-bedroom HMO in Charlton rented to three separate tenants

The council say that their licensing scheme protects tenants by ensuring landlords are held responsible for meeting certain standards, such as fire and general safety, as well as ensuring the property is in good condition.

The council are actively identifying properties that are unlicensed in the borough and taking enforcement action against rogue landlords and these particular landlords were identified following complaints.

Issuing a civil financial penalty

A civil penalty can be issued without any need for a court appearance. The council can issue a notice of intent to impose a civil penalty and invite representations.

Having considered any representations, they can decide to impose the penalty, impose a lower penalty or decide no penalty is appropriate.

Once a penalty is imposed, the landlord has 28 days to lodge an appeal with the First-tier Tribunal or pay the amount due. If the penalty is not paid, the council can recover the debt through the County Court.  

Civil penalties collected by the council can be reinvested in further housing enforcement activity.

Cllr Jackie Smith, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Integrated Enforcement at Greenwich Council said:

Every single person in our borough deserves good quality accommodation and our licensing enforcement is instrumental in ensuring that landlords maintain high standards for their tenants.

Most of our landlords are following the rules, but for those that aren’t, we encourage you to come forward and license your property before you are caught and risk being fined up to £30,000”.

A free guide containing more detailed information about property licensing in the Royal Borough of Greenwich is available here.

Any landlords served with a notice of intend to impose a civil penalty can contact London Property Licensing for advice (here). Alternatively, legal advisers can be found in our Landlord Suppliers Directory (here).

For all the latest news and events, you can sign up for the free London Property Licensing newsletter here.

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