Five Year HMO licence application criteria

Five-year HMO licence application criteria

To receive a five-year licence you must:

  1. Complete a valid application when sent the first renewal reminder. A valid application consists of:
    • A renewal application form submitted
    • Stage One fee payment
    • Signed declaration returned
  2. All documentation must be received at least two weeks before the licence expiry date.
  3. Sign and return the “five-year checklist” confirming you understand the following five year licence criteria must be met to award a five year licence and these will be checked on application. A signed checklist is required per property.
    • No fit and proper person concerns
    • HMO meets standards – no additional conditions permitted
    • No justified* service requests in last year
    • Safety certificates must be submitted to us and be current and satisfactory and the certificates on record with us should evidence a continuous history
    • Fire risk assessment undertaken and confirmed by signing the checklist
    • Planning permission granted (change of use or certificate of lawful use) or clear historic use
    • All building work requiring building control approval  properly certified
    • Stage two fee paid as requested
    • Licence holder or managing agent (full management control) is accredited*

Who needs to be accredited for a property to be eligible for a 5 year licence?

Licence holder - if the licence holder is accredited, then the property can be considered for a 5 year licence, regardless of the accreditation status of the agent. This is because the licence holder is ultimately legally responsible for the licence.

Managing agents - where the licence holder is not accredited, then the managing agent must be accredited and have full management responsibility for the property to be considered eligible. If the managing agent has part or no management responsibility and the licence holder is not accredited the property will not be eligible.

Important information to note

It is your responsibility to meet all of the eligibility criteria for the five year licence and provide all necessary evidence on application. 

If you do not submit the application or documents two weeks before your licence expiry then a one year licence will automatically be issued. If your application for a five year licence is rejected, then you may be offered a two or one year licence. If you have overpaid the fee you will be refunded the difference.

“Justified service request” means where the council have investigated and have evidence that supports the allegation and / or had to take action to resolve the issue.

Accreditation schemes; we expect the licence holder / agent to be accredited at least two weeks before the licence expiry date. Please see details of accepted accreditation schemes below.

Table showing accepted accreditation schemes

Landlord Schemes

Agent schemes

Existing OCLAS – Oxford City Council Landlord accreditation scheme -  The scheme is no longer run by Oxford City Council and instead we have partnered with ATLAS (Accreditation & Training for Landlords and Agents Service)

ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents) Property mark Protected Agency with one member Level 3 qualified (English law)

NRLA – National Residential Landlord Association

UKALA - UK Association of Letting Agents with one member Level 3 qualified (English law) (who has passed Disrepair and HMO element

(ATLAS)  Accreditation & Training for Landlords and Agents Service (includes London Landlord Accreditation Scheme and other local authority schemes in the south east)

Safeagent - Protected Agency with one member Level 3 qualified (English law) (who has passed Disrepair and HMO element)

DASH (Decent and Safe Homes Scheme)

National Code of Standards for Larger Developments for University Accommodation NOT managed or controlled by University Establishments

Midlands Accreditation Scheme / Homestamp


Guild of Residential Landlords



Letting agents* must be accredited with one of the agent schemes to be considered for a 5 year licence. ARLA, Safeagent and UKALA must also have one member of staff qualified with Award in Residential Letting and Property Management at Level 3 (English law) ideally with with HMO and disrepair element.

Landlords can be accredited with either a landlord or agent scheme.

Should any issues arise or new information be discovered after the licence is issued, Oxford City Council reserves the right to vary your licence to reduce the term or revoke the licence. Providing false or misleading information or made a false declaration, is an offence under the Housing Act 2004.

  • •* A letting/managing agent who acts on behalf of landlords, should reach a higher standard of accreditation than a landlord who manages their own properties. This reflects the recommendations of the Regulation of Property Agents Working Group. To be eligible for the incentive on a specific property, agents must hold a full management agreement with the landlord 
  • If a person is a letting agent as per the property redress scheme, they fall under the agent accreditation requirements. 
  • If a person is not a letting agent as per the redress scheme, they fall under the landlord accreditation requirements.

The requirement to belong to a property redress scheme only applies to agents carrying out lettings or property management work ‘in the course of business’. Some examples  which would not come under the definition of ‘in the course of business’ are set out below: 

  • someone looking after the letting or management of a rented property or properties on behalf of a family member or friend who owns the property/properties, where the person is helping out and doesn’t get paid or only gets a thank you gift; 
  • a friend who helps a landlord with the maintenance or decoration of their rented properties on an ad hoc basis; 
  • a person who works as a handyman or decorator who is employed by a landlord to repair or decorate their rented property or properties when needed; 
  • a landlord who looks after another landlord’s property or properties whilst they are away and doesn’t get paid for it; 
  • a joint landlord who manages the property or properties on behalf of the other joint landlords (NB even if the person is receiving a wage, this would still be informal because they are only managing properties owned within their own business)
  •  A business or charity who owns property and employs a person to manage the portfolio – the business/charity is not letting out other people’s property so they are not acting as an agent for someone else.

Fire risk assessments for licensed HMOs

Having a fire risk assessment for your licensed HMO is a legal requirement under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which is enforced by the Fire and Rescue Authority. The duty is placed on the ‘responsible person’ who could be the landlord/licence holder or an agent with full management control. The assessment must be ‘suitable and sufficient’, and assistance from an appropriately competent person should be sought as necessary to achieve this.

Our Building Control Service can provide fire risk assessments. There is a fee for this service.