Landlords are opting to move out singles from shared homes and to change them back to family lets following the introduction of city-wide licensing in Oxford.
A straw-poll of 30 landlords revealed nine had decided not to join the licensing scheme for small houses in multiple occupation – and the fear is hundreds more will do the same, leaving the city with a homeless crisis.
Oxford was the first city in England to introduce small HMO licensing – homes shared by three to five unrelated tenants – in January 2012.
Landlords must pay a licence fee from £362 to the council.
Their properties must undergo safety checks and comply with any maintenance or improvements ordered before a licence is issued.
Many landlords and letting agents have expressed frustration with the inspections that pick up what they say are irrelevant maintenance issues.
The council’s value and performance committee is considering the survey.
The report disclosed of 30 landlords surveyed, 17 owned five or less properties, six owned six to 10 and seven owned more than 20.”
The impact of licensing affected 21 out of 29 (72%), 14 out of 28 (50%) expecting licensing to influence plans to buy or change the use of homes.
Around 3,000 HMO licences have been issued since the scheme started.
The landlords also told the council 50% of the landlords polled had put up rents due to licence fees.
Councillor Ed Turner, the executive member for finance, said: “Clearly some landlords will be unhappy with the scheme, but our view is we need to raise standards of properties and management and we see no evidence of a mass exodus of landlords.
“What we are hearing from residents groups is that it has been a real success. Complaints about rubbish, neighbourliness and noise have gone down by nearly half.”