On this page


We consulted on plans to implement a landlord licensing scheme to certain wards for private rented properties. This proposal would introduce a ‘selective licensing scheme’ to extend licensing to all private rented properties other than houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).

Alongside selective licensing, we also sought to introduce an ‘additional licensing scheme’ in those and another 3 wards which would extend the requirement for HMO licensing to all HMOs in the 7 designated wards. HMOs with 5 or more occupants from 2 or more households already needed to be licensed under the separate mandatory HMO licensing schemes (which applies across all wards in the borough).

Additionally, we introduced further planning controls (an ‘article 4 direction’) for small HMOs in the same wards meaning that planning permission will be required for all HMOs within those wards, whatever their size. This was implemented 17 November 2022.

We hired an independent consultation company, Opinion Research Services (ORS) to manage and deliver the consultation. ORS have reviewed the feedback, responses and representation received and reported the findings. Direct representations relating to the Article 4 Direction made to us in relation to the new planning controls have been reviewed by us separately.

The private rented sector in Merton

Merton is committed to improving housing conditions in the private rented sector (PRS); and to tackling the many instances of anti-social behaviour, poor housing conditions, and other issues that arise from poorly managed rented properties and in particular HMOs.

The PRS is an important part of our housing stock and is growing rapidly in Merton. Whilst many landlords operate within guidelines, there are also others who do not, often taking advantage of some of the most vulnerable members of our community. This leads to issues affecting health and safety, the wider community, as well as the environment.

Our proposal

For full details of our proposals, please read our Landlord Licensing and HMO Planning Controls Consultation Document.

We strongly believe that it is necessary to pursue every action we can to address the many issues and complaints received from the growth of the PRS in Merton and poorly managed private sector properties.

As part of the work to improve conditions in the PRS, we developed an overarching strategy to implement in partnership with our strategic partners, to achieve the Council’s key housing supply, improvement, and enforcement objectives. The proposed introduction of selective and additional licensing; the introduction of an Article 4 Direction; as well as targeted and effective enforcement action are key elements of the overarching housing strategy.

This is consistent with our ambition to build pride in Merton and the themes of:

  • clean streets and environment
  • sustainable future
  • high streets and communities

Where these proposals would apply

The proposed selective licensing scheme, additional licensing scheme and the article 4 direction currently in place, would cover the following wards:

  • Figge’s Marsh
  • Graveney
  • Longthornton
  • Pollards Hill

In addition to the above four wards, additional licensing and the article 4 direction would also cover:

  • Colliers Wood
  • Cricket Green
  • Lavender Fields

The Article 4 Direction applied from 17 November 2022 in the seven wards. The proposal is to confirm this in April 2023 subject to the outcome of the consultation exercise underway. It is important to note that this will not be applied in retrospect and properties already operating as a small HMO at the time the notice is issued will not be required to seek planning permission.

You can view maps and find out which ward you live in on our Wards page.


    Who would benefit and how

    Through the introduction of these measures, we intend to

    • Improve housing conditions for those in the private sector
    • Reduce significant and persistent problems caused by anti-social behaviour
    • Increase the number of good landlords and significantly reduce the number of rogue landlords

    Consultation supporting documents

    Consultation responses

    Responses to the consultation were received by us and ORS. Direct representations to the Article 4 Direction have been reviewed and added below. Personal information from the respondents has been redacted.

    In addition to the direct representations noted above, ORS have completed their analysis of the responses to the Article 4 Direction.

    View a copy of the ORS report on this section

    Outcome of the consultation

    Following consultation, the Council met on Wednesday 19 April 2023 to consider the responses, representations and feedback on introduction of the Immediate Article 4 Direction. Having reviewed the information, the Council confirmed the Article 4 Direction, resulting in it becoming permanent, in the 7 affected wards.

    Therefore, a planning application will need to be made to the Local Planning Authority (Merton Council) for the conversion of a C3 single dwelling property to a C4 HMO (House of Multiple Occupation) in the following wards:

    • Figge’s Marsh
    • Graveney
    • Longthornton
    • Pollards Hill
    • Colliers Wood
    • Cricket Green
    • Lavender Fields

    The Article 4 direction cannot be applied retrospectively and therefore, if your property was operating as an HMO prior to 17 November 2022, no planning application is required. However, you may be required to submit evidence of this in the form of tenancy agreements or similar. For further details and information see Article 4 directions removing permitted development rights.

    The final consultation report from ORS, summarised the responses to both the Article 4 Direction and Landlord Licensing (Selective and Additional Licencing). Having already considered the Article 4 direction in April 2023 and made a decision, the outcome of the consultation in regards to Selective and Additional licensing was presented to Cabinet in June 2023. Having reviewed the information presented, Cabinet agreed the recommendations made by officers and Landlord Licensing in Merton will come into effect in September 2023. A copy of both the Selective Licensing Notice and Additional Licensing Notice can be viewed below.

    Selective Licensing Notice June 2023

    Additional Licensing Notice June 2023

    June 2023 Cabinet report and amended fees

    Merton's Cabinet approved the following report and appendices on 19 June 2023. Following consideration of the consultation responses, the proposed fees were amended and are set out in Appendix D of the report.

    • Cabinet report 19 June 2023
    • Appendices - this document includes:
      • Appendix A - Summary of Consultation Responses for Landlord Licensing
      • Appendix B - Selective Licensing conditions
      • Appendix C - Additional Licensing conditions
      • Appendix D - Schedule of Proposed Charges for Licensing