HUNDREDS of private landlords in Oxford could be forced to obey strict new regulations set by Oxford City Council as it tries to crackdown on poor-quality housing.

Oxford residents have two weeks left to have their say on proposals to improve conditions in private rented housing in the city.

The council is currently considering making licences mandatory for all landlords in the city, which means that in order to maintain their right to let out property, they would need to meet certain conditions such as submitting to inspections.

The move comes after a campaign from the tenants’ and community union Acorn calling for the council to intervene in the private rental sector as more than 85 per cent of such homes are currently unregulated.

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To highlight the importance of the change activists from the union held a protest outside the office of a lettings agency in Oxford earlier this week.

Councillor Alex Hollingsworth, cabinet member for planning and housing delivery, commented on the proposal: "Every private tenant deserves a decent home.


"As well as renewing our additional HMO licensing scheme, we want to bring in licensing across the whole sector so that every private rented home will need a licence.

"This will help us to deliver on our plans to protect tenants, drive up standards and crack down on rogue landlords.

"We estimate that a fifth of privately rented homes in Oxford have a serious housing hazard, and tenants also face challenges around energy efficiency and fuel poverty."

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But the council also believes that the scheme will also benefit landlords themselves as tenants will have the confidence that they are not renting from a rogue operator.

Such schemes, also known as 'selective licensing', have successfully improved housing standards in Newham, Bristol and Liverpool despite strong opposition from landlords and letting agencies.

In practice, it aims to enforce accountability for the care and cleanliness of the home.


If approved, the proposal is set to shift an 'extortionate power imbalance', which private tenants are often faced it, Acorn argued.

The union also urged the local authority to not consider integrating 'Anti-Social Behaviour' provisions from its licensing plans as they are often used to target marginalised individuals with police and immigration enforcement.

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Safieh Kabir, who is one of the organisers behind the campaign, commented on the scheme: "Cars and toothbrushes have more government oversight than the homes we rent.

"Dozens of our members are forced to suffer mould, fire hazards and worse.

"Landlord licensing is an elementary first step for Oxford City Council to tackle vicious landlord neglect."

The consultation runs until Thursday, December 3 and residents can find more and take part at