Private landlords in Oxford have been warned to apply for licenses to rent out their homes or risk facing penalties up to £30,000.

The city council introduced a citywide selective licensing scheme in September 2022, and this requires all private rented homes to have a licence.

Before last September, only shared houses needed a licence to operate but these only make up less than 15 per cent of all private rented homes in Oxford.

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Oxford is the only council in the country to require a licence for all private rented homes and landlords who fail to comply can be issued penalties of up to £30,000 by the council.

 The courts also have the power to impose unlimited fines for unlicenced homes.

Oxford Mail: Cabinet member for housing Linda SmithCabinet member for housing Linda Smith

City councillor Linda Smith and cabinet member for housing, said: “We’ve had more than 10,500 applications to our selective licensing scheme and we’re making good progress with issuing licences.

“If you’re a landlord or agent who hasn’t applied yet then you need to get a move on.

“The application fee will increase from £480 to £1,100 on 1 September and you’re already at risk of enforcement action if your properties are unlicensed.”

The council has received more than 10,500 licence applications and landlords face a big increase in the application fee if they apply after September.

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A standard fee of £480 for a five year licence applies during the first year of the scheme but a higher rate of £1,100 will apply from September 1 this year, unless a home is newly rented within 12 weeks of the date of application.


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The council has so far issued 986 licences and around 2,000 draft licences.

Tenants living in an unlicenced home can apply to a First Tier Tribunal for a rent repayment order and this allows them to claim back up to a year’s rent from their landlord for any period the home they live in is unlicenced.

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A register of selective licences exists for those who want to find out whether their home is licenced.

In addition to a rent repayment order, unlicenced landlords and agents may have to repay any housing benefit paid to them by the council.

Unlicenced landlords also cannot serve a section 21 (‘no fault’) eviction notice.

This means they cannot evade licensing rules by evicting tenants.

The council has said licences are not published on the register until they are issued, and this does not include pending applications.

Any tenant living in a home not on the register is advised to email for further information.

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