City’s private landlord licensing scheme is launched

City’s private landlord licensing scheme is launched

9:09 AM, 6th September 2022, About 3 weeks ago 4

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Landlords who rent out private homes in one city are now subject to a mandatory selective licensing scheme – the first one outside of London.

And the council has also unveiled plans this week to close a loophole that sees landlords renting out properties as short lets having an unfair advantage over local hotels because they are registered as a business.

The selective licensing scheme is being run by Oxford city council who say that the move will be the biggest shakeup for more than 10 years in its private rented sector.

The scheme started on 1 September and will run for five years which will mean all PRS homes in the city will need a licence.

The council says this is to help ensure that the properties are well-maintained and well-managed.

Show that landlords are complying with the law

The licensing requirements have been implemented to show that landlords are complying with the law and are meeting management and safety standards.

The scheme was approved by the government in April and Oxford became the only council outside London that demands all private rented homes are licensed.

Agents and landlords will need to apply by 13th November to enjoy an early bird discounted rate of £400 or pay the full £480 costs.

Accredited landlords will pay a discounted fee of £280 for their license.

A fifth ‘could have a serious housing hazard’

Half of Oxford’s homes are privately rented, and the council says that a survey of properties found that a fifth ‘could have a serious housing hazard’.

They add that the licensing scheme will ‘create a level playing field’ for all tenants and landlords.

The council also highlights that between 2015 and 2020, they served 2,451 public health and housing notices – and carried out 4,058 investigations into anti-social behaviour.

The council’s consultation process showed that 68% of residents and tenants agreed with the scheme.

The cabinet member for housing, Coun Linda Smith, said: “Oxford needs decent homes, and the launch of selective licensing will help make that a reality for private tenants who have – too often – had to put up with substandard and frankly dangerous conditions.

‘Protect private tenants by driving up standards’

“Selective licensing will protect private tenants by driving up standards and cracking down on the rogue landlords who make their lives a misery.

“The majority of responsible landlords and agents who already do a good job have nothing to fear, as a licence means tenants will have confidence in their ability to provide safe, well-maintained and well-managed homes.”

And now the council says it will close a loophole on short lets which will see landlords being charged for waste collections at those properties that are registered as commercial businesses.

Oxford is following in the footsteps of Hampshire, Dorset, the Isle of Wight and Scarborough.

The council says that short lets in the city are being used for antisocial and illegal purposes – and that ‘valuable family homes’ have been lost.

‘Called for powers to regulate short lets’

Ms Smith said: “We first called for powers to regulate short lets in 2018 because we believe the uncontrolled loss of permanent homes in the city to holiday letting accommodation will only exacerbate Oxford’s housing crisis.

“The government needs to act to ensure there’s a proper level playing field with the rest of the rental market and other highly regulated commercial businesses.

“Until then, we will continue to use our planning enforcement powers against unauthorised change of planning use class, and we are now removing this unfair advantage of free waste collection for whole house short lets that are registered as businesses.”

She added: “They will need to organise a commercial waste agreement contract just like other businesses in the city; it’s only fair as these properties avoid paying council tax.”


Paul Essex View Profile

10:17 AM, 6th September 2022, About 3 weeks ago

"Oxford Votes to increase Rents"

I wonder if this truthful headline will get reported in the media.

Martin Thomas

11:02 AM, 6th September 2022, About 3 weeks ago

Very interesting to see that the licensing fee is £400 which compares to Bristol's figure of around a massive £1400!
It's time the NRLA got onto the variation in licensing fees. It should be possible to calculate what a reasonable fee should be and then challenge any council that tries to make a profit from the system.
Councils are accountable as much as landlords!

Old Mrs Landlord

16:57 PM, 6th September 2022, About 3 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Martin Thomas at 06/09/2022 - 11:02
The NRLA are making the arguiment to government that the landlord portal proposed in the Renters' Reform Bill will do away with the need for the current multiplicity of local licensing schemes.

John Grefe

18:16 PM, 6th September 2022, About 3 weeks ago

Hi. I'm not surprised with Oxford imposing mandatory licensing scheme. Not so long ago restrictions were implemented by the same city to reduce the number of HMO'S in any street. When ever authorities usually for political reasons, impose ideas that do the opposite of helping the renting market. Someone said, "we provide housing where the public sector can't! John

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