Greenwich Council Forces Planning Permission for HMO Properties

Landlords will now be required to apply for planning permission before letting their private rental properties to multiple people in the Greenwich council area.

The steps that must now be taken before letting a house in multiple occupation (HMO) comes as part of Greenwich Council’s agenda to crack down on poor quality and unsafe homes for tenants in the borough’s private rental sector. They also aim to drive up rental standards with the move, hoping to better vet landlords in order to weed out those who are liable to let substandard properties to tenants in the area.

The change, referred to as an Article 4 Direction, has removed the permitted development rights for properties to be used as small Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) with no more than 6 people. Landlords and property investors will now need to apply for planning permission should they choose to convert their homes into HMOs to rent out in the sector in Greenwich borough. Previously, only houses that had three floors or more needed to have an HMO licence.

The change was approved by Greenwich Council’s cabinet on September 13. The law is set to change in 12 months’ time.

Deputy leader of Greenwich Council, Councillor Danny Thorpe, spoke out about the changes: ‘The Council is committed to providing safe and secure accommodation for everyone in the borough. This latest decision will help us drive up standards, and drive out rogue landlords.’

Cabinet member for community safety and environment, Councillor Jackie Smith, added: ‘The Royal Borough has taken a number of measures over recent years to tackle the problem of sub-standard and often unsafe accommodation, and this latest move strengthens our hand even more. Over-crowded and poorly maintained HMOs are not just devastating for the families that have to live there; it leads to other problems such as overflowing bins and flytipping.’

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