15:56 PM, 2nd April 2012, About 10 years ago 2
More than 2,000 Oxford landlords have had warning letters from the city council about repairs to carry out under the UK’s first blanket HMO licensing scheme.
The city has around 5,000 HMO properties and is at the vanguard of councils cracking down on HMOs.
Although councilors, residents and students back the scheme, landlords and letting agents have voiced issues over ‘petty repairs’ required by the council.
To back their stance, the council has issued some statistics about HMOs in the city as the scheme ended the first 12 months in force.
City board member for housing Joe McManners said: “I think this shows why there is a problem and why it is excellent that we are able to get these houses brought up to a decent standard.
“The fact that there is a lot of work which is being done shows a lot of these homes are not in a fit state.”
Landlords and letting agents in the city protest that the warning letters are not about poor living standards but technical building regulation issues.
The most common demand for repairs call for hard-wired fire detection systems to replace battery alarms and for fire doors between kitchens and living space.
Most of Oxford’s HMOs house students overflowing from the city’s two universities. Both are allowed to let around 3,000 live in off-campus accommodation.
Student landlords pay £362 per year for a licence, which raises revenue of around £1.81 million a year for the council.
The National Landlords Association claims licensing on this scale does not work and will result in fewer rented homes and higher costs for students as landlords pass on the expense of license and maintenance.
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