London Borough of Croydon

If you need help understanding the property licensing rules in Croydon you have come to the right place! We are experts in housing regulation and have produced this free guide to help you understand the council’s property licensing schemes.

If you find that you need a licence for your rented property our support doesn’t end there. Our Landlord Suppliers Directory (view here) lists companies that offer a licence application handling service. You can also find companies offering a wide range of other goods and services to help you manage your property portfolio and achieve compliance.

Licensing Requirements

Do I need a licence to rent out my property?

There is currently one licensing scheme operating in Croydon. We will help you choose the right licence for your property:

1. Mandatory HMO licence

You will need a mandatory HMO licence if your property meets the standard test, self-contained flat test or converted building test HMO definition in section 254 of the Housing Act 2004 and is occupied by five or more people.

But what are these tests and what does this mean in practice? It means you need a licence for any house or flat that is occupied by five or more people who are not all related and live in the property as their main home. For example, it includes:

  • Shared houses and flats occupied by students and young professionals;
  • Properties converted into bedsits with some shared facilities; and
  • Properties converted into a mixture of self-contained and non self-contained accommodation.

Prior to 1 October 2018, the mandatory HMO licensing scheme only applied to properties that were three or more storeys in height, but that restriction has now been lifted.

The government have decided to exclude purpose built self-contained flats within a block comprising three or more self-contained flats from the mandatory HMO licensing scheme. While this will be good news for some landlords, it does make the licensing scheme far more complicated.

To find out more, you can read our free guide to mandatory HMO licensing (here).

How much does a licence cost?

For a mandatory HMO licence, the council charge a flat fee of £250 per habitable room up to a maximum of £5,000. This includes bedrooms, living room and dining rooms. In our experience, this is quite unusual and could discourage landlords from providing a shared living room.

Unfortunately, there is no fee discount for accredited landlords.

This information was correct as of October 2023 but could be subject to change in the future. You can view the mandatory HMO licensing fees here.

How do I apply for a licence?

There is an online application system that can be accessed via the council’s website.

If you need assistance with your licence application, you can find companies offering a licence application handling service in our Landlord Suppliers Directory (here). Whilst we do handle some applications, we have limited capacity and specialise in more complex cases where we provide our clients with expert advice and assistance.

It is important to remember that submitting a licence application is only the start of the licence approval process. To help landlords understand what happens next, we have published a free guide here.

Are there any standards I need to comply with?

Yes, Croydon Council have published HMO standards that can be downloaded from the council’s website.

The standards cover a range of issues such as kitchen, bathroom and toilet facilities, fire precautions, heating, lighting, ventilation and room sizes.

It is important to note that new absolute minimum bedroom sizes for licensed HMOs have been introduced for HMO licence applications approved on or after 1 October 2018:

  • 4.64m2 for a child under 10 years old
  • 6.51m2 for one person over 10 years old
  • 10.22m2 for two people over 10 years old

The council can still ask for larger minimum sizes. These new minimum sizes apply throughout England to HMOs licensed under a mandatory HMO or additional licensing scheme.

The council can still ask for larger minimum sizes. These new minimum sizes apply throughout England to HMOs licensed under a mandatory HMO or additional licensing scheme.

How many properties has the Council licensed?

In May 2019, Croydon Council told us they had approved 719 mandatory HMO licences and 34,351 selective licences.

By the time the selective licensing scheme ended on 30 September 2020, Croydon Council said they had licensed 38,596 properties. We are unsure if that included HMO licences. We understand all selective licences have now expired.

The council keep a public register of licensed properties that is regularly updated and can be viewed on the council’s website.

Are there lots of unlicensed properties still out there?

In May 2019, Croydon Council told us they think there were about 2,000 properties that required licences under the mandatory HMO licensing scheme.

Whilst the selective licensing scheme has ended, there could still be many more properties that need to be licensed under the mandatory HMO licensing scheme.

What happens if I don’t get a licence?

Ignore the law and you could pay a heavy price. You risk being prosecuted by the Council and if found guilty you could get a criminal record, be fined an unlimited amount and ordered to pay court costs and a victim surcharge.

Alternatively, the council can issue you with a civil penalty notice of up to £30,000 for not having the correct licence without any warning being given, so this is really serious stuff.  

You could also be subject to a Rent Repayment Order and may have to repay up to 12 months rental income.

Whilst the property is unlicensed, you can’t use a Notice of Seeking Possession under Section 21 Housing Act 1988 to evict your tenants. 
And following a successful prosecution, you would probably fail a fit and proper person assessment, making it very difficult for you to obtain a property licence in the future.

Don’t put your livelihood and reputation at risk. Make sure you comply with the law.

Does the Council take much housing enforcement action?

In London, most boroughs publish information about housing prosecutions and civil financial penalties on the Mayor of London’s ‘Rogue landlord and agent checker’. You can search the database by entering a property address, landlord / agent name or by selecting the relevant borough, available here.

How many accredited landlords are there?

There are landlord accreditation schemes operated by the London Landlord Accreditation Scheme, the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) and other organisations.  

Whilst we don’t have any figures for the NRLA scheme, we have got information about the London Landlord Accreditation Scheme that is supported by all the London Boroughs. In January 2016, they told us there were 345 accredited landlords in Croydon, which placed them in the bottom third when compared to all London boroughs.

January 2018: 558 accredited landlords
January 2019: 788 accredited landlords
January 2020: 872 accredited landlords
January 2021: 947 accredited landlords

January 2022: 1,145 accredited landlords

By January 2023 there were 1,238 accredited landlords, which is slightly below average when compared to all the London boroughs. To find out more about becoming accredited, you can visit the London Landlord Accreditation Scheme website here.

In addition to training and development, accredited landlords are entitled to various benefits, including discounted licensing fees in some boroughs. If you are not already a member, we would encourage you to think about joining!

Is the Council planning to introduce any new licensing schemes?

Croydon Council developed plans for a replacement selective licensing scheme which they wanted to implement when the old scheme ended on 30 September 2020.

The council prepared two proposals. One involved a new borough wide selective licensing scheme covering all private rented properties. The second proposal involved a selective licensing scheme covering 97% of the borough. This area included 22 council wards plus a further 16 areas within the remaining 6 wards.

A public consultation took place between 16 December 2019 and 9 March 2020 and you can find out more information on the council’s website.

On 11 May 2020, the council’s cabinet meeting approved plans for a new selective licensing scheme. On 20 July 2020, the council submitted an application to government seeking approval to implement the new scheme. The council proposed a revised a revised start date of 1 February 2021.

On 7 June 2021, the government wrote to Croydon Council to say their application to implement a borough wide selective licensing scheme had been refused.

On 16 August 2021, the council’s cabinet meeting approved plans to collect and review more data before deciding what to do next. 

As of October 2023, there have been no further announcements.

There’s been a lot happening in Croydon so we will continue to monitor the situation and keep you posted.

Do I need planning permission for my HMO?

You will need planning permission if you are changing your property from a single-family property to a house in multiple occupation (HMO) occupied by more than six people. HMOs occupied by more than six people fall within ‘sui-generis’ use for which planning permission is required. You will also need planning permission if you a splitting up a property into smaller self-contained units of accommodation.

For small HMOs, the rules are a bit more complicated. HMOs occupied and shared by between three and six people fall into planning use class C4 whereas single-family properties fall into planning use class C3.

On 18 January 2019, Croydon Council made a non-immediate HMO Article 4 Direction and a public consultation took place from 24 January to 8 March 2019.

The Direction came into force on 28 January 2020. This means that planning permission is required to change any property from a single-family home (C3) to an HMO with up to six occupants (class C4). So even letting your property to three people who are not all related could require planning permission. 

These changes are not retrospective and so properties converted under permitted development rules before this date are not affected. You can find out more information on the council’s website.

Remember that this is only intended as general advice and no liability can be accepted for any reliance upon information provided. We would strongly encourage you to contact the Council’s Planning Department or seek independent legal advice before you start a new HMO development.

Can you help me find the goods and services I need?

We certainly can. We understand the challenges of being a private landlord and so we have developed a Landlord Suppliers Directory to provide you with access to the goods and services you need. The Directory concentrates on businesses that operate in the London area.

Whether you a looking for a letting agent, want a property inventory for a new tenancy or fire risk assessment, we have got it covered – and far more besides!

As the leading experts in property licensing, we also offer a range of services ourselves. From handling the licence application process to advice on new HMO developments, we can help to ensure your property business remains compliant. If you need assistance, please drop us a line and see if we can help! 

New suppliers are regularly being added and we would encourage you to take a look. Some of our featured listings also contain YouTube videos, helping you to find out more about the business. 

How do I find out more?

You can contact the council at: 

Housing Standards & Enforcement Team
Croydon Council
3rd Floor Zone B
Bernard Weatherill House
8 Mint Walk
Croydon CR0 1EA

Tel: 020 8726 6000 extension 28257

Latest News


There are currently no licensing consultations we are aware of in the London Borough of Croydon


There are currently no new licensing schemes we are aware of that are being introduced in the London Borough of Croydon



At a Glance

Licence Overview

In Croydon, mandatory HMO licensing applies borough wide. There are no additional or selective licensing schemes.

Contacting the Council

Tel: 020 8726 6000 extension 28257
Weblink: Croydon Property Licensing