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UK's only city-wide licencing scheme 'gets tough' on landlords

oxford selective licencing

Landlords in Oxford who fail to sign up to the city’s licensing scheme are being threatened with fines and enforcement action after a year of relative ‘grace’.

Its citywide scheme – the only one of its kind in the country - came into force in September 2022 and means all private rented homes in Oxford need a licence.

The authority reports that private landlords made 10,896 applications covering more than 12,000 homes during the first year of the scheme, more than a third higher than expected. This included 9,057 applications during an initial early bird period.

It issued 2,138 final licences during the first year and expects to issue those for the remaining early bird applications in the next six months; to date, 5,925 licences have been issued.

Landlords were given time to apply and for new staff and systems to bed in, but work to find unlicensed properties began last March.


The council has now investigated 83 cases, with 49 licence applications made and 16 properties ruled exempt.

During the first year, property inspections were carried out in response to complaints, with 36 of 61 properties found to have a serious housing hazard.

The council is now ramping up this work and aims to inspect 60% of licensed homes during the scheme’s life. Unlicensed landlords and agents who own up to 27,500 private rented homes in the city, are now at risk of proactive enforcement action.

Councillor Linda Smith (pictured), cabinet member for housing, says: “I’m encouraged that so many made licence applications during the first year of the scheme and I’d like to thank them all.

"If you’re a landlord or agent who hasn’t applied yet, what are you waiting for? We’re now taking enforcement action and you’re running the risk of an unlimited fine if your properties aren’t licensed.”

Picture credits: Google Streetview/Oxford council.


Selective licensing
Landlord fines