City’s selective licensing scheme sees a surge in applications

City’s selective licensing scheme sees a surge in applications

0:05 AM, 20th March 2024, About 2 months ago 2

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A council’s mandatory licensing scheme for private landlords has received a higher-than-expected response in its first year.

The scheme, launched in September 2022, requires all rented homes in the city to be licensed.

Landlords and letting agents have submitted applications for more than 12,300 properties, exceeding the council’s forecasts by 34%.

Oxford City Council says this included a surge during an initial incentive period offering reduced fees.

Processed more than half of the applications received

The council has processed more than half (5,925) of the applications received in the first year of the selective licensing scheme.

It says they are working through the remaining applications, including those submitted during the early bird period with discounted fees.

The council started investigating potentially unlicensed properties in March 2023 and has, so far, reviewed 83 cases, resulting in 49 new license applications and 16 exemptions.

Investigations into the remaining cases are ongoing.

‘Quality standards in private rented homes’

Oxford’s cabinet member for housing, Councillor Linda Smith, said: “Our selective licensing scheme is a crucial step in raising the bar for quality standards in private rented homes.

“We are committed to ensuring safe, decent homes for private tenants.

“The majority of landlords and agents do a good job and have nothing to fear from selective licensing.”

She added: “I’m encouraged that so many made licence applications during the first year of the scheme and I’d like to thank them all.”

Only council requiring a licence for all rented homes

Oxford, which is the only council in the country requiring a licence for all rented homes, is now issuing licenses and taking action against unlicensed properties.

They’ve begun investigating potential violations and ramping up inspections to ensure rented homes meet safety standards.

Previously, only shared houses required licenses and the council says the new scheme will improve the quality of private housing in the city.

Landlords must meet specific criteria to be licensed, including safety regulations, responsible management, and proper waste disposal.

Unlicensed landlords now face penalties, including fines of up to £30,000 and potential court action.

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robert fisher

10:36 AM, 20th March 2024, About 2 months ago

I was under the impression that a council had to apply to the secretary of State for a selective licence scheme not just impose a blanket city wide scheme, proving certain criteria to justify the licence scheme. the below taken from the Governments web site

Currently local authorities have powers to introduce selective licensing of privately rented homes in order to tackle problems in their areas, or any part or parts of them, caused by:

low housing demand (or is likely to become such an area) and/or;
a significant and persistent problem caused by anti-social behaviour;
poor housing conditions;
high levels of migration;
high level of deprivation;
high levels of crime.
I have just paid out £3600 in licence fees for Peterborough council and its outrageous that council owned homes and housing association homes are exempt. Their own properties would not pass any of the compliance checks the PRS has to . Licence schemes have no purpose other than ensuring the costs are passed on to the tenants.

Chris wood

13:05 PM, 20th March 2024, About 2 months ago

The fact that council owned and assocition homes are exempt is disgusting and means they avoid the costs whilst private landords are hit. It's a bit like someone working for the council being immune from criminal prosecution.
Another absurb example is Coventry Council who brought in HMO licencing in the middle of the covid epidemic ! So you could not get any officer out to inspect and advise.

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