HMO Licensing background
HMO licensing was introduced by the Housing Act 2004. There are 2 types of HMO licensing, Mandatory HMO licensing for those HMOs occupied by 5 or more persons, and Additional HMO licensing. See Property Licensing FAQs for more information
HMOs are a major concern in Oxford. Oxford has one of the highest number of HMOs in England and Wales. Only the large metropolitan and unitary authorities and some London Boroughs contain more. They form an unusually high percentage of houses in the city. An estimated 1 in 5 of the resident population live in an HMO, with the trend over many years being for the HMO stock to grow steadily within the City. High demand for properties means that some landlords can offer lower quality properties but still be confident of finding tenants.
HMOs can negatively affect the neighbourhoods and communities, due to issues with rubbish and anti-social behaviour; problems which are aggravated by poor management of HMO properties. High densities of HMOs can also change the nature of an area and result in reduced community cohesion. The Council continue to receive around 1100 service requests/complaints relating to HMOs each year and since the commencement of the previous HMO licensing scheme in 2016, have investigated over 2460 cases where it was suspected that a property was a HMO, with over 54 financial penalties being served since 2017, for the offence of operating a HMO without a licence
Since 2011, the city has operated a citywide HMO licensing scheme, the first scheme was renewed in 2016.for a further 5 years The 2016 scheme lapsed on 24th January 2021 and due to the COVID -19 pandemic the Council were not able to re-designate a new scheme until March 2021. This scheme will start on 10th June 2021 for a further 5 years. see Property Licensing FAQs for more information