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Renters should join tenants’ union, urges Labour council

Oxford’s Labour-run council has called on private renters to join a new tenants union.

A statement from the authority says some private landlords and agents still discriminate against potential tenants on benefits even though this is unlawful.

Last year Oxford councillors passed a cross-party motion calling for an end to DSS discrimination and establishing a permanent tenants’ forum. 


This forum will act in an advisory capacity to councillors.

The tenants’ forum is open to renters in all tenures but the council claims its impact is likely to be biggest in the private rented sector, which now makes up nearly half of all homes in Oxford. 

The council says Oxford is among the least affordable places for housing in the country, with average private rents nearly double that for England as a whole. 

The council’s statement says: “Though rents are high and rising, the condition of privately rented homes is often poor. In 2020, an independent review of housing conditions by Metastreet found that a fifth (6,200) of the 30,500 homes in Oxford’s private rented sector could have a serious housing hazard.”

Oxford council says the government is now considering whether to confirm a selective licensing scheme meaning that all privately rented homes in the city will need to be licensed.



A council spokesperson says: “Too many tenants in Oxford get a bad deal – high rents for low standards. No one should have to live with health hazards or be threatened with eviction. Oxford City Council is committed to improving standards. Renters can help shape what we do by joining the tenants’ forum.”

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  • icon

    Careful selection on affordability grounds is not discrimination and is practised by all responsible lenders.

    In fact bookies are vilified if they don't do this!


    Local housing allowance is set well below market rents, so we know that person on benefits will not be able to pay their rent, it would be pure madness to take them on as a tenant.

  • George Dawes

    Dear old labour , in la la land as usual


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