Published: Thursday, 10 June 2021

All houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) in Oxford must have a licence following the restart of Oxford City Council’s ‘additional’ licensing scheme today.

HMOs are homes rented out to three or more people who are not from the same family and who share facilities. HMO licensing requires private landlords to show that they are complying with the law by meeting safety and management standards, being a ‘fit and proper person’ and meeting council waste storage and disposal requirements.

The additional licensing scheme runs for five years and renews an earlier scheme which expired on 24 January. The gap between the two schemes is the result of government advice to pause public consultation – a necessary condition for additional licensing – during the early stages of the pandemic.

Applying for an HMO licence

The council has contacted HMO landlords whose licences would have expired after 24 January if there had been no break in the additional licensing scheme, inviting them to apply for new licences. Landlords who have not already done so can apply online or request a paper application form by calling 01865 252307.

About HMO licensing

Under the Housing Act 2004, licensing is mandatory for HMOs occupied by five or more people. Councils can extend additional licensing to other shared housing where a significant proportion of HMOs are poorly managed and give rise to problems for residents or the general public. In 2011 Oxford was the first council in England to introduce a citywide scheme that required every HMO to be licensed.


“Every tenant deserves a great home and the restarting of our additional licensing scheme will help us continue to drive up standards in shared housing.

“But HMO licensing isn’t just good for tenants and residents generally. Renewing additional HMO licensing will protect the majority of landlords and agents who do a good job, as tenants will have the confidence that they are responsible landlords and agents providing decent, safe, well-managed homes.”

Councillor Alex Hollingsworth, Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing Delivery

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