Oxford City Council is hailing its UK-first whole-city selective licensing scheme a likely success after it received more than 10,000 early applications – thousands more than expected.
The only scheme in the UK covering all privately rented homes launched on 1st September, offering an early bird discounted rate of £400 until 30th November for a five-year licence.
Landlords and agents made 5,893 applications during the first three months while the city’s largest letting agents also submitted details of a further 4,200 homes. This added up to far more than the 7,500 applications the council had hoped for.
£1,100 fee A standard fee of £480 has now kicked in and a higher rate fee of £1,100 will apply from 1st September unless a home is newly rented within 12 weeks of the date of application. The council will begin looking for unlicensed homes from 1st January.
Oxford was the first council in England to introduce a citywide scheme that required every HMO to be licensed back in 2011.
In April it received Secretary of State approval for its controversial new scheme which covers half (49.3%) of all Oxford’s homes.
The NRLA voiced its opposition during the authority’s consultation, arguing that HMO licensing had led to rents increasing, and to those on lower incomes in the city being driven out of it, as the council seeks to rehouse people in Birmingham and elsewhere.
Councillor Linda Smith, (pictured) cabinet member for housing, says: “We’re dealing with more than 10,000 licence applications and that’s great news for tenants and the majority of responsible landlords and agents.
“If you’re a landlord or agent who hasn’t applied yet you’ve missed the early bird but don’t miss the boat. Everyone should have a decent home and your tenants deserve the confidence of knowing that theirs is safe, in good condition and well managed.”
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