How many private renters are there in Greenwich?
64, 700 in 2015, according to the London Data Store.
If renting is so bad, why don’t private renters just buy a house?
Because in Greenwich, the average house costs 11.85 times the average salary.
Why can’t they ask for council housing then?
In 2017, there are 11,562 people on the housing waiting list in Greenwich
Looks like we’re stuck in the private rented sector then. What’s it going to cost?
The average prices in Greenwich when renting privately are:
Room in a shared house: £450
One bedroom flat: £1,050
Two bedroom flat: £1,290
Three bedrooms: £,1438
Four bedroom house: £1,993
That’s a lot. I guess that means a lot of private renters have to claim housing benefit to stay alive then?
Yes, 5,808 private renters in Greenwich have to claim housing benefit to meet their rent
And does housing benefit cover it?
Not quite. This often means that private tenants have to make other sacrifices just to be able to live. In Greenwich, the amount of Local Housing Allowance you receive depends on where you live.
Inner South East London (Greenwich Town, Greenwich Peninsula)
Shared Accommodation Rate: £412.44
One Bedroom Rate: £884.35
Two Bedrooms Rate: £1,149.59
Three Bedrooms Rate: £1,433.12
Four Bedrooms Rate: £1,807.09
Outer South East London (Woolwich, Thamesmead and beyond)
Shared Accommodation Rate: £365.17
One Bedroom Rate: £697.76
Two Bedrooms Rate: £858.48
Three Bedrooms Rate: £1,049.53
Four Bedrooms Rate: £1,355.33
How many privately rented homes in the borough are overcrowded?
Around 6,190 privately rented homes in Greenwich are overcrowded. That’s equal to 61% of privately-rented homes; a much worse rate of overcrowding than suffered by people renting homes from the council or a housing association.
Can I talk to someone at the council about problems with my private landlord?
Yes. Greenwich Housing Rights is an independent housing specialist in the area, offering advice and casework services free of charge. Greenwich Housing Rights also offers a range of services specific to the needs of migrants, via Greenwich Migrant Hub.
Greenwich council runs a Housing Aid Centre which helps private renters, as well. There’s a drop-in at the Woolwich Centre or you can call them on 020 8921 2863. According the council’s website, they’ll advise you on:
- what to do if your landlord has served you with a notice, or if you are facing eviction
- your rights as a tenant and security of tenure
- rents and claiming Housing Benefit, for example, negotiating an agreement to make payments towards rent arrears
- problems with Housing Benefit claims and any dispute over your deposit
- how to tackle disrepair – working with the environmental health team to ensure that landlords carry out repairs
It’s not run by the Council but we really like the look of Greenwich Housing Rights. They offer advice over the telephone: 020 8854 8848 and also, hold advice sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 2pm and 5pm and on Fridays from 10am until 1pm. These are all drop-in sessions so there’s no need to make an appointment, just go along to
Greenwich Housing Rights
36 Wellington Street
Are there any Tenancy Relations Officers (TROs)?
Greenwich council has a team of environmental health officers to inspect the quality of private rented accommodation and to make sure it is maintained to the legally required standard.
Since 2013, the team has visited over 1750 properties and carried out over 1330 formal investigations into unsatisfactory conditions. More than 3,153 hazards to tenants’ health or safety have been identified. Of the hazards identified by Enforcement Officers, 68% have been removed or reduced to a safe level. The remaining 32% cases are still in progress, cases where prosecution is being considered or where Prohibition / Improvement Orders have been made.
Do private landlords in Greenwich have to get a licence?
All landlords in London have to get a licence for any home rented by three or more people who are not all members of one family and who share a bathroom, toilet or kitchen. Homes occupied by more than one household and set in buildings that include a mixture of self-contained flats and flats that are not entirely self-contained, whether facilities are shared or not, must also be licensed.
Houses converted into self-contained flats before 1992 should also be licensed, where at least one third of the flats in the building are rented out under assured shorthold tenancies (the standard tenancy).
Does Greenwich council run a non-profit letting agency for private renters?
Yes. Greenwich council matches tenants and landlords under a scheme known as HACTRAC. It’s open to families and single people. Properties are kept up to standard with grants for repairs, if necessary, and all rents are capped at the Local Housing Allowance rate. However, the scheme is very limited, and is largely for those at risk of homelessness so won’t be able to help as many people as it should. If you need this scheme, though, go to the Woolwich Centre and ask about HACTRAC. You will have to wait a short while for an interview with the customer access team, but you may then be referred.
Does Greenwich council have a Private Rented Sector (PRS) forum, where private renters can discuss ways to make private renting better?
There is no forum available for private renters yet but as Greenwich offers landlords a Business Club, we think renters should also have a space to discuss issues and ideas.
How many criminal landlords has Greenwich Council prosecuted?
The council has successfully prosecuted 12 criminal landlords, covering at least 52 housing-related offences.
Greenwich Housing Aid Centre states can help to bring a prosecution against your landlord.
Who else should I talk to about making private renting fairer in Greenwich?
Campaigners might want to get in touch with Councillor Averil Lekau, who is the cabinet member for Housing and Anti-Poverty. Here are her contact details