Thursday, October 18, 2007

Oxford City Council to extend HMO licensing scheme

Landlords in Oxford who let to three or more unrelated tenants who share amenities (i.e. bathroom, toilet, kitchen and living space) beware! Your city council is seeking to extending the current mandatory licensing scheme (which just applies to the larger properties of three or more stories and five or more occupiers in two or more households) to all HMOs. This will include, for example, three students sharing a small two story house or a flat. See the report from the Oxford Mail here.

The city council say that 26% of houses in Oxford are privately rented (many presumably to the large student population), 61 per cent of HMOs are below standard in terms of fire precautions, and 29 per cent of HMOs have below adequate management. The Council hope that extending the licensing system will allow them to change this. I hope they have sufficient manpower to deal with the massive amount of extra work they are taking on.

No doubt other cities with large student populations will in due course be looking to do the same as Oxford. Although of course much of the student population in Oxford comes from a ‘posh’ background, so they may be under more pressure to deal with the problem of sub standard student accommodation.

The city council have started public consultation on the proposals. If you want to be involved in this the email address is hmos@oxford.gov.uk or contact the HMO licensing officer on 01865 252307. After this process they then have to apply to the government so the extending HMO licensing regime is not going to come into force until next year at the earliest.

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1 comment:

Nearly Legal said...

Very interesting. My experience is that major Local Authorities are unable to effectively deal with HMO licensing as it stands. Certainly it has produced little substantive change - landlords don't register, tenants have no idea, the LA's simply don't know they exist.

Oxford's plans strike me as a good thing and I applaud their ambition. But one does wonder how far they will be able to enforce the extension.