Mandatory licensing of HMOs was introduced in the 2004 Housing Act and requires all HMOs of three or more storeys occupied by five or more people to be licensed. However, the Act also enables local authorities to extend their licensing powers if there is a need. One way of doing this is for a local authority to implement additional licensing. ...

On the 18 October 2010 Oxford City's Executive Board resolved to extend licensing to all HMOs in Oxford by introducing an Additional Licensing Scheme.

The first stage of the Scheme came into force on 24 January 2011 and required landlords of all three or more storey HMOs and all two storey HMOs occupied by five our more people to obtain a licence to operate an HMO.

The second stage came into force on 30 January 2012, and requires the landlords of all two storey or single storey houses or flats occupied by three or four persons to obtain a licence to operate the property as an HMO.

Oxford Council states that:

'HMOs are a major concern in Oxford. According to government statistics Oxford has the 14th highest number of HMOs in England and Wales. Only the large metropolitan and unitary authorities and some London Boroughs contain more.

'They form an unusually high percentage of houses in the city. An estimated 1 in 5 of the resident population live in an HMO. The House Condition Survey of 2005 reported that HMOs provided the poorest homes in the city and that 70% were unsafe. High demand for properties means that some landlords can offer these lower quality properties but still be confident of finding tenants.

'HMOs are responsible for over 2000 service requests/complaints a year. The number of complaints has risen steadily over recent years and survey indicate that many problems go unreported. HMOs are also associated with issues that affect the neighbourhood such as rubbish and anti-social behaviour. These problems can be aggravated by poor management of the property. HMOs can also change the nature of an area and result in reduced community cohesion.'

For more information see:

www.oxford.gov.uk/PageRender/decH/HousesinMultiple OccupationBackgroundinformation.htm