Greenwich selective licensing scheme approved with promise of 60% early bird fee discount

Thursday, April 28th, 2022 - Greenwich Council

On 23 March 2022, Greenwich Council’s Cabinet approved plans for a selective licensing scheme in the east of the borough.

During 2020, Greenwich Council consulted on plans for a selective licensing scheme covering all private rented homes in the Woolwich Common, Glyndon, Woolwich Riverside, Shooters Hill and Plumstead council wards.

In response to government guidance to pause new licensing schemes due to the COVID19 pandemic (read here), Greenwich Council placed any decision on hold.

Whilst a decision was expected in late 2021 (read here), the matter was eventually discussed at the March 2022 Cabinet meeting.

Cabinet members were told the consultation attracted 817 responses to the survey and 12 written responses. Overall, two thirds of respondents supported the proposed selective licensing scheme, with 72% of landlords and agent opposed.

Selective licensing scheme boundary

The Cabinet meeting approved a selective licensing scheme in “the five Council ward areas of Parts of Plumstead, Glyndon, Shooters Hill, Woolwich Common and Woolwich Riverside as delineated and edged red on the map at Annex A“.

The reference to “parts of” makes it unclear if the scheme will apply to all or parts of these wards. The explanatory map from the draft scheme designation is published below.

Greenwich Council's proposed selective licensing area 2022

Scheme set to start on 1 October 2022

Whilst the formal scheme designation has not yet been published, the Cabinet Report says that the scheme will start on 1 October 2022.

The report says that licence applications submitted during an early bird discount period will attract a 60% discount, reducing the cost from £780 to £312 per property.

It is unclear when licence applications can start be submitted to benefit from this significant fee discount.

According to the Cabinet report, the council estimate that the selective licensing scheme will attract 4,400 applications, generating £2.6 million to fund the scheme.

Additional licensing scheme ending soon

To coincide with the selective licensing scheme starting, the council’s borough wide additional licensing scheme ends on 1 October 2022.

According to the Cabinet report, just 26% of the expected additional licence applications have been received. The council say this is partly due to landlords evicting tenants in order to convert Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) back into single family properties.

Whether there has been a significant reduction in HMOs, the council overestimated the number of HMOs, or there has been widespread evasion of the scheme remains unclear.

To date, the council have not consulted on a proposed new additional licensing scheme and it seems unlikely there will be time to complete the process by 1 October 2022.

Whether Greenwich intend to follow in the footsteps of Barking and Dagenham that only operate mandatory HMO and selective licensing, or whether they plan to implement a replacement additional licensing scheme, remains to be seen.

Our free guide containing more information about property licensing and HMO planning rules in the Royal Borough of Greenwich is available here.

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