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Anger over private rental licensing bid which could hit 10,000 homes

A row has broken out between landlords and the council in Oxford, where the local authority is considering a private rental sector licensing scheme which could involve up to 10,000 homes.

Oxford council is the latest to say it is considering licensing of all privately-rented properties in a bid to counter so-called rogue landlords; some 5,000 properties in the city are currently classified as HMOs and so require licensing, although the authority admits only around 70 per cent are now licensed. 

Another 10,000 non-HMO homes are not licensed at all.

A draft document from the council suggests a new all-embracing scheme could be in effect from January. 

But the This Is Oxfordshire website says the National Landlords' Association describes the suggestion as "nothing more than a tax on those who live in the private rented sector." The RLA claims the local authority is failing to properly enforce even existing licensing schemes.

"This policy has not been properly thought through. If this scheme is taken forward, anyone who is renting could potentially be facing higher costs and the council should be clear to people that it is responsible. It seems to have an ideological hatred of the private rented sector and wants to just tax it again and again" says a spokesman for the NLA.

A council official says: "The council has a strong belief that the private rented sector in Oxford should be improved so that it works better for everyone involved.

"It has not yet considered the report on the private sector housing policy, which is due to go to the July city executive board, so it is premature to talk about policies that have yet to be approved by councillors.”

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