ROGUE landlords will be clamped down upon in Oxford after the Government approved a new scheme.

Oxford City Council’s ‘selective licensing’ scheme was given the green light, 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’.

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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.

Imogen Thomas, the city council’s private sector tenants’ champion, welcomed the Government approval, saying tenants will be safer under selective licensing.

She said: “A licensing system for the entire private rented housing sector in Oxford was a key part of Labour’s four-year manifesto at the 2021 elections – and we are delighted to say that it will be delivered ahead of schedule.

“From September 1, all privately rented homes in Oxford will need to be licensed.

“That means that conditions will be improved, tenants will be safer, and law-abiding landlords need not fear being undercut by the cowboys.

“Tenants in the private rented sector are all too often left at the mercy of a system that it is weighted against them.”

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

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

The move was also warmly received by ACORN Oxford, the city branch of a national organisation which calls for better housing standards.

In a statement online, ACORN Oxford said: “We organised, took on the landlord lobby, and won.

“With half of all Oxford homes being privately rented, this is an incredible victory for tenants in their fight for safe and well maintained housing.”

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.

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

A five-year licence will cost £480, with 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.

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