Oxford City Council is urging private landlords to apply to its new licensing scheme by the end of November in order not to miss out on an early bird discount.
The council’s ‘selective licensing’ scheme came into force for five years on 1 September. It means that all private rented homes in Oxford need a licence.
Previously only houses in multiple occupation – shared houses – required 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 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.
A five year licence costs £480. Landlords and agents who make a complete application by 30 November will qualify for an early bird discounted rate of £400.
There is also a discounted fee of £280 for accredited landlords and agents.
The Office for National Statistics reports a median private rent of £1,500 a month for a three-bedroom home in Oxford. The cost of a five year licence for landlords ranges from £4.67 to £8 a month – no more than 0.5% of an average rent.
Oxford needs decent homes
Citywide selective licensing follows government approval of the scheme in April.
It means Oxford is the only council in the country requiring a licence for all private rented homes.
The council believes that licensing all private rented homes will protect tenants, drive up standards in the sector and crack down on rogue landlords. It will also create a level playing field for all landlords and tenants.
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.
"If you’re the landlord or a person receiving rent for a private rented house, you now need a licence. If you make a complete application by the end of November you’ll qualify for our early bird discounted rate, so what are you waiting for? Visit our website, get the early bird and apply now!”
Councillor Linda Smith, cabinet member for housing