The Housing Act 2004, enforces a mandatory licensing scheme for certain HMOs. From the 1st October 2018, the mandatory licensing scheme for HMOs in the UK was extended. Under this, a licence must be acquired and renewed for: Properties occupied by five or more people, making up more than one household, who share facilities or amenities, such as a kitchen or a bathroom; Buildings or converted flats occupied by 5 or more people, making up more than one household, who share facilities or amenities, such as a kitchen or a bathroom, and; Purpose built flats where there are up to two flats in the block and at least one of these are occupied by 5 or more people, making up more than one household, who share facilities or amenities, such as a kitchen or a bathroom.
The Housing Act 2004 also affords Councils the discretion to subject HMOs not subject to mandatory licensing to an ‘Additional HMO’ licensing scheme. Additional licensing can be introduced where the Council is concerned that a significant proportion of HMOs are poorly managed, creating broader problems.
Oxford City Council commenced a new Additional Licensing scheme on the 10th of June 2021 and it will last for five years. HMOs with 3 or 4 tenants or HMOs that are classed as section 257 HMOs fall under this scheme.
The Housing Act 2004 also permits local authorities to introduce so-called ‘Selective Licensing’ to privately rented properties in any given area that will require landlords, in certain areas, to obtain HMO licenses. The local authority can introduce Selective Licensing (providing there are no other effective remedies) in any given area where: They are concerned that there is low housing demand; There are significant problems with antisocial behaviour; It will improve the socio-economic conditions in the area; Private sector landlords are failing to combat concerns, or; They believe it will reduce or eliminate concerns.
Oxford City Council has approved a Selective Licensing area which covers the whole city and the Selective Licensing scheme will come into effect on 1 September 2022 and end on 31 August 2027.
For the latest information, visit Oxford City.
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