With a month to go until a new licensing scheme for private rented homes starts, Oxford City Council is urging landlords to register their interest in applying for a licence.
A citywide ‘selective licensing’ scheme comes into force on 1 September which means that all private rented homes in Oxford will need a licence.
Landlords and agents who register their interest now will qualify for an early bird discounted rate if they make a complete application by 30 November.
Currently only houses in multiple occupation – shared houses – require a licence to operate, though these make up less than 15% of private rented homes in Oxford. Selective licensing means that all private rented homes will need a licence to help ensure they are safe, well maintained and well managed.
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.
Landlords can register their interest in an application form online (no longer available as scheme is now live). The council will contact them once the application system opens.
A five year licence costs £480. The early bird discounted rate for landlords who make a complete application by 30 November is £400. There is also a discounted fee of £280 for accredited landlords.
Find out more
The council is holding a landlord information exchange event at Oxford Town Hall at 10am on Monday 15 August.
Landlords who are interested in finding out about selective licensing and what they will need to do to apply for a licence can register for this event on Eventbrite.
“If you’re a private landlord or the person receiving the rent for a privately rented house, from 1 September you’ll need a licence to operate. If you register your interest in applying for a licence now, we’ll contact you once the scheme starts and by submitting a complete application you will qualify for our early bird discounted rate.
“Every tenant deserves a decent home and selective licensing will help drive up standards and crack down on rogue landlords. It will also protect the majority of responsible landlords and agents who do a good job.”
Councillor Linda Smith, cabinet member for housing
The need for selective licensing
The council believes that licensing all private rented homes will protect tenants, drive up standards in the sector and crack down on rogue landlords.
Half (49.3%) of all Oxford’s homes are now privately rented. An independent review of housing conditions in 2020 found that a fifth (6,200) of the 30,500 homes in Oxford’s private rented sector could have a serious housing hazard.
Between 2015 and 2020 the council received 3,360 complaints from private renters about 2,990 properties – around one in 10 of all privately rented homes. During that time the council served 2,451 housing and public health notices and carried out 4,058 investigations into antisocial behaviour related to private rented housing.