Selective licensing

Selective Licensing block licence

It is possible to grant one licence covering separate dwellings  – known as a “block” licence providing:

  1. All the flats / studios in the residential block are on a relevant tenancy / licence; and
  2. The building was purpose built as a block of self-contained flats / studios or the building has been converted into self-contained flats / studios and the conversion has a Building Control completion certificate
  3. No dwellings within the Block are occupied as a HMO; and
  4. Each of the dwellings are within common ownership and management control (i.e. the freehold and leasehold is the same for all flats and this person rents out all the flats)

Note - where a building includes a commercial unit then this is excluded from the block licence e.g. shop on ground floor leased by one party and the building has flats on the first, second and third floor and all the flats are in control of the freeholder then this is eligible for a block licence.

Applications for a block licence require a floor plan showing the layout of the flats, with the room type and floor level clearly labelled. This can be uploaded on the application system when the application is submitted.

It is open to an applicant (which is usually, but not invariably, the landlord) to apply for a “block” licence. The Council may grant such a Block Licence where it is satisfied that:

  • the conditions set out above are met; and
  • there are no other contra-indications that would mean that such a Licence should not be granted e.g. outstanding improvement notice on one flat, planning permission not granted

A Selective Licensing scheme block licence cannot apply to buildings which are classed as HMOs under the Housing Act 2004 section 257 – a building converted into and consisting of self-contained flats where the conversion does not meet Building Regulations. Such HMOs will require an HMO licence and then each flat / studio is covered by the HMO licence. Additionally, if a flat is occupied as an HMO then the flat itself requires an HMO licence and a Block licence will not be applicable.

Inspection of block licences

All block licences will be classified as “high priority” for inspection due to the higher number of occupants in a residential block. This is to ensure good management. The common parts and a sample of the flats would be inspected (Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service would be invited due to the overlap with the requirements of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005). Following inspection, it may be necessary to add additional conditions.

Application Process

Before starting the application form, please read the application guide carefully, as instructions specifically relating to block licence applications are in grey “boxes”.

A fee of £200 will be taken per block with the application.

Once the application form has been submitted, email propertylicensing@oxford.gov.uk with the subject 'Block Licence Application' and provide the licence reference number(s). We will then check if the property is eligible and contact you for further payment.

Fees

As with other fees, the discount will be determined as part of the licence processing and applied to the stage two payment. The early bird and accreditation discounts still apply.

  • Stage one fee – applicable stage one fee for each dwelling
  • Stage two fee – applicable stage two fee for first dwelling paid in full then subsequent dwellings applicable stage two discounted by £66.

Student blocks – non-HMO

Student accommodation that consists of individual self-contained units with no sharing of facilities would fall under this policy where the building is managed by organisations signed up the National Code of Standards for Larger Developments for University Accommodation NOT managed or controlled by University Establishments. This is a stringent code and comes with its’ own inspection and audit regime.

These student blocks will have a flat fee of £330 for the reason they are part of a Code with stringent inspection and audit regime.

Table showing examples of fees for block licences
Number of flats Application type Stage One fee Stage Two fee Total fee Individual licence comparison
5 Standard

£200 x 5 dwellings = £1000

First flat charged at £330

Remaining dwellings £330 - £66 = £264

£264 x 4 dwellings = £1056

Stage 2 total: £1,386

£2,386

£530 x 5 dwellings = £2,650

5 Accredited £200 x 5 dwellings = £1000 First flat charged at £130

Remaining dwellings £130- £66 = £64 

£64 x 4 dwellings = £256 

Stage 2 total: £386

£1,386 £330 x 5 dwellings = £1,650

NB where a block has been operating for more than 12 weeks without a licence, the Council will use their discretion and require separate licence applications for each dwelling within the block.