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Council threat to raise landlord licence fee by well over 100%

A statement from Oxford’s Labour controlled council says private landlords in the city have under a month to apply for a licence before a huge rise in the application fee.

The council’s selective licensing scheme came into force in September 2022 and means all private rented homes in Oxford need a licence.

The council claims to have received nearly 10,500 licence applications and says landlords and agents face a substantial increase in the application fee if they don’t apply by September 1 - a standard fee of £480 for a five-year licence applies during the first year of the scheme but a higher rate of £1,100 will apply from September 1 unless a home is newly rented within 12 weeks of the date of application, in which case the fee will be £530.


The current rate is the result of consultation with landlords and agents before the start of the scheme. They told the council responsible landlords and agents making an early application should not have to bear the costs of enforcement against those who applied late or did not apply at all.

So far, the council has issued 1,466 licences and 2,661 draft licences.

A statement from the council says: “Unlicensed landlords and agents are now at risk of enforcement action. The council can issue financial penalties of up to £30,000 and the courts have the power to impose unlimited fines for unlicensed homes.”

And it lays the threat on thicker with this statement: “Tenants living in an unlicensed home can apply to a First Tier Tribunal for a rent repayment order. This allows them to claim back up to a year’s rent from their landlord for any period the home they live in is unlicensed.”

The council then explains that licences are not published on the register until they are issued and it does not include pending applications, leaving even new applicant landlords open to action. 

The council additionally gives an email address for tenants to use to get further advice. 

“If you’re a private landlord or agent who hasn’t applied for a licence yet then you need to get a move on. Application fees increase from £480 to £1,100 on 1 September and you’re already at risk of enforcement action if your properties are unlicensed” says Councillor Linda Smith, the authority’s housing spokesperson.

“We’ve already had nearly 10,500 licence applications and that’s great news for tenants and the majority of responsible landlords and agents. Everyone should have a decent home and tenants deserve the confidence of knowing that theirs is safe, in good condition and well managed.”  

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  • George Dawes

    Here we go

    The great reset begins...

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    Kerching 💰💰 it’s party 🎈 time in the council offices.


    Or time to invest in the latest pons scheme perhaps? They are fast & lose with OUR money - just look at Thurrock!


    Tot agree Simon. Re stock on the Waitrose Essentials. Day out for em at the Races.

  • icon

    another rent rise for tenants!


    The councils don’t care 🤷‍♂️ it’s just more gruel for the serfs.

  • icon

    One wonders if there is any possible legal challenge to what these councils are doing to a group of people - landlords. It seems to be a form of extortion.


    not doing it to me Ellie - I am passing it straight on to my tenants!

    • A JR
    • 03 August 2023 07:48 AM

    The NRLA should be bringing legal challenges on this and a number of other issues, yet they consistently avoid standing up for landlords/private housing providers. It could be that some challenges may be lost but this is not the point, it is essential that the PRS is ‘seen and felt’ to be pushing back.
    The PRS desperately needs effective representation and the NRLA are not delivering.


    I do agree 100% that we have no effective representation on any issue.

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    £480 seems quite cheap.
    I'm just renewing an HMO license for £990 minus a £125 discount for being accredited.

    Presumably most landlords will just increase the rent by an extra £20 a month on top of their normal planned increase to cover the licence fee.

    I wonder if tenants understand quite how much of their rent goes to the Local Authority and HMRC.


    Perhaps would be worth reminding tenants who are about to have their rent increased: how much goes in income tax and VAT (and licenses where applicable); also how much agents charge. Then they realise how little of their rent the landlord actually keeps, and has to pay for repairs, Gas and Electrical Safety certificates, out of.

    And that's just for unmortgaged properties.


    I doubt it, they are being battered from all sides, oh to be a tenant 😱😱

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    maybe apply for the linence and refuse to pay the fee


    They generally want a big percentage of the licence fee in advance, demand your bank details and then take the money out of your account when the licensing application is decided.

  • John  Adams

    Increase the rents, and tell the tenants it's been imposed by the council. Until these councils receive the backlash they'll keep on doing it.


    Let’s be honest, backlash or not…. They will keep doing it 💰💰🎉🎉

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    Great points made here. I think a breakdown of what the rent includes would be productive. It will highlight how much of the tenants rent goes to pay for the council fees and safety certificates etc. We also need a legal push back against these council extortion rackets. In my experience these councils 'fold' when they realise they are up against someone with means and the determination to win.


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