HMO Licensing: background

Aims of HMO Licensing

All types of HMO in Oxford need licences. This is different to most other parts of England, and is due to the uniquely high HMO concentrations and issues in Oxford. The definitions apply in Oxford irrespective of the number of storeys in a property. Planning permission is also required and is a separate legal requirement from licensing. You must have both to operate an HMO legally.

Licensing is intended to ensure that:

  • the landlord of an HMO is a fit and proper person (or employs a manager who is)
  • each HMO is suitable for occupation by the number of people allowed under the licence (overcrowding is eliminated)
  • the standard of management of the HMO is acceptable
  • vulnerable tenants are protected
  • high-risk HMOs can be identified and targeted for improvement

Licensing of HMOs aims to:

  • protect the health, safety and welfare of all occupiers
  • help integrate HMOs into neighbourhoods
  • help in the reduction of anti-social behaviour
  • promote environmental goals
  • Improve the quality of the HMO housing rental stock