TENANTS in Oxford have hit out at a lettings agency which forced them to stop using a room in their home as a bedroom.

The five students sharing a house in Cowley are in dispute with North Oxford Property Services (NOPS), which they rented a nearly £3,000-a-month house from in September.

The argument started at the beginning of November after the agency asked one of the students, Aleisha Lanceley, to quit her spacious bedroom.

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She said she was asked to lock it with a padlock and move into a smaller room in the house, which the group had been using for storage.

Initially, when Ms Lanceley and her housemates asked for an explanation, she said NOPS did not respond.

An email from one NOPS head of property management to the tenants read: “I have been made aware that the ground floor back bedroom is currently being used as a bedroom.

“I am afraid that this is not prohibited as per the HMO licence.

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“Therefore, please can I ask that all items be removed from this room as a matter of urgency, and it is no longer to be used under any circumstances.

“It then needs to be locked shut, of which, you can buy a padlock for.

“If this request is ignored, and the landlord should be approached by any governing body and enforcement be taken, then you could also be implicated.”

Ms Lanceley said out that when they viewed the property in November last year, the bedroom was in full use by the previous tenants.

Further, she said that at no point in the process of moving in had NOPS warned them that they would not be able to use the room as a bedroom.

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The student added: “Our tenancy agreement states that if the landlord wishes to retain use of part of the property, this will be brought to out attention at the start of the tenancy.

“Further, we had been occupying the room, and had been visited by NOPS members, with no issue for almost two months before we were told there may be a problem.”

In a statement, NOPS said the room Ms Lanceley had been staying in was not permissible as a bedroom, as per the HMO licence.

This is due to the fact that the room does not have ‘adequate light as it is a high level window and does not meet the HMO requirement’.

A spokesperson added: “We have worked tirelessly with the council to ascertain whether anything can be altered to facilitate the use of the room as an adequate sixth bedroom.

“It cannot, however, we have managed to obtain it can be used as a second living area, just not a bedroom.”