Fees to clamp down on rogue landlords approved by council

·3-min read
ACORN Oxford campaigns for better housing standards
ACORN Oxford campaigns for better housing standards

A COUNCIL report states the local authority is set to profit less than £20,000 over a five-year period by clamping down on rogue landlords.

Last month, Oxford City Council’s ‘selective licensing’ scheme was given the green light by the Government, meaning that all private rented homes in the city will need a licence from September.

Just under half (49.3 per cent) of all Oxford’s homes are privately rented.

Licensing will require landlords to show they are meeting safety and management standards, and are a ‘fit and proper person’.

READ AGAIN: Clampdown on rogue landlords in Oxford under new licensing scheme

A fee structure for licence applications was approved by the council, with a five-year licence set to cost £480.

There is an ‘early bird discounted rate’ of £400 for landlords who apply within the first three months.

There will be a discounted fee of £280 for accredited landlords.

A council report states the total income predicted over the five years of the scheme is £5,065,342, while total costs are predicted at £5,048,379.

That leaves the local authority in profit of £16,963.

According to the report, the main cost for the council is an estimated £2,160,804, which will be spent on processing applications during the first year.

The report states that following a consultation, 35 per cent of landlords and 31 per cent of agents agreed with the principle of introducing a selective licensing scheme.

Fifty-five per cent of landlords and 62 per cent of agents disagreed, however.

The report adds: “A number of alternatives have been suggested in the feedback received.

“These have mainly been voluntary schemes, such as landlord accreditation, property MOTs, exempting properties managed by agents, and landlord registration.

“Whilst such schemes are worthwhile, they are not supported by a robust enforcement regime and rely on landlords’ and agents’ engagement, which has not been forthcoming with the council’s current accreditation scheme.”

Oxford Mail: ACORN Oxford campaigns for better housing standards
Oxford Mail: ACORN Oxford campaigns for better housing standards

ACORN Oxford campaigns for better housing standards

In 2010, the city council introduced powers to licence every house in multiple occupancy, becoming the first local authority in England to require every HMO within its boundaries to be licenced.

Currently, it is only HMOs which require a licence to operate, however these make up less than 15 per cent of private rented homes in Oxford.

Approval of the selective licensing scheme saw Oxford become the only council outside London to require licensing for all houses in multiple occupation and other private rented homes.

The selective licensing scheme will run for five years and starts on September 1.

An independent review in 2020 found that more than a fifth (6,200) of the 30,500 homes in Oxford’s private rented sector could have a serious housing hazard.

Read more from this author

This story was written by Liam Rice, he joined the team in 2019 as a multimedia reporter.

Liam covers politics, travel and transport. He occasionally covers Oxford United.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Liam.rice@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter @OxMailLiamRice

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