Oxford landlords urged to register for licensing scheme

With a month to go until the launch of a licensing scheme for private rented homes, Oxford City Council has urged landlords to register their interest in applying for a licence.

A citywide ‘selective licensing’ scheme comes into force on 1 September which means that all private rented homes in Oxford will need a licence.

It will cost £480 for five years, though there is an early bird discount of £400 for applications completed by 30 November. There is also a discounted fee of £280 for accredited landlords.

Councillor Linda Smith, cabinet member for housing, said: “If you’re a private landlord or the person receiving the rent for a privately rented house, from 1 September you’ll need a licence to operate. If you register your interest in applying for a licence now, we’ll contact you once the scheme starts and by submitting a complete application you will qualify for our early bird discounted rate.

“Every tenant deserves a decent home and selective licensing will help drive up standards and crack down on rogue landlords. It will also protect the majority of responsible landlords and agents who do a good job.”

The council argued that the licensing scheme will protect tenants, drive up standards in the sector and crack down on rogue landlords.

The council believes that licensing all private rented homes will protect tenants, drive up standards in the sector and crack down on rogue landlords.

Half (49.3%) of all Oxford’s homes are now privately rented, while an independent review of housing conditions in 2020 found that a fifth (6,200) of the 30,500 homes in Oxford’s private rented sector could have a serious housing hazard.

Between 2015 and 2020 the council received 3,360 complaints from private renters about 2,990 properties – around one in 10 of all privately rented homes. During that time the council served 2,451 housing and public health notices and carried out 4,058 investigations into antisocial behaviour related to private rented housing.

Currently only houses in multiple occupation – shared houses – require a licence to operate, though these make up less than 15% of private rented homes in Oxford.

Selective licensing means that all private rented homes will need a licence to help ensure they are safe, well maintained and well managed.

Licensing requires private landlords to show that they are complying with the law by meeting safety and management standards, being a ‘fit and proper person’ and meeting council waste storage and disposal requirements.

Landlords can register their interest in an application form online. The council will contact them once the application system opens.

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