With a month to go until a new licensing scheme for private rented homes starts, Oxford council is urging landlords to sign up.
The government-approved selective licensing scheme means that all private rented homes in Oxford will need a licence from this September.
Some 49.3 per cent of all Oxford’s homes are now privately rented. And Oxford council claims that an independent review of housing conditions in 2020 found that a fifth of the 30,500 homes in Oxford’s private rented sector could have a serious housing hazard.
Currently only HMOs require a licence to operate, though these make up less than 15 per cent of private rented homes in Oxford. The recent government go-ahead for selective licensing means that all private rented homes will need a licence, and landlords will as usual be expected to show they are complying with safety and management standards, being a ‘fit and proper person’ and meeting council waste storage and disposal requirements.
The selective licensing scheme will run for five years and starts on September 1.
A new statement from Labour-controlled Oxford council says landlords can register interest in the scheme online, with the council then contacting them pro-actively when the scheme begins operating.
A five year licence costs £480 with a discounted rate of £400 for landlords who make a complete application by November 30. There is also a discounted fee of £280 for accredited landlords.
In recent months the National Residential Landlords Association has spoken out against the Oxford scheme and its rationale.
The NRLA says: “All our research shows there is no clear link between licensing schemes and improved enforcement against criminal and rogue landlords. Too often such schemes penalise responsible landlords who will come forward to be identified, whilst failing to find those operating under the radar.
“Oxford, like all other councils, should focus instead on better using the wide array of data already available to identify landlords and take action against those bringing the sector into disrepute. This includes council tax and housing benefit data along with information held by the Land Registry.”
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