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Council HMO rules force agency to ban tenant from using bedroom

A lettings agency is in the news because it has asked a student to stop using a specific room in a property to conform with HMO rules.

The issue came to light at the beginning of last month when one student was asked to vacate the room which she had been using - in the words of the newspaper - as a “spacious bedroom”

The head of property management at North Oxford Property Services asked the student - one of five sharing the property in the city - in an email.


The local Oxford Mail newspaper reproduces the email which reads: “I have been made aware that the ground floor back bedroom is currently being used as a bedroom. I am afraid that this is not prohibited as per the HMO licence.

“Therefore, please can I ask that all items be removed from this room as a matter of urgency, and it is no longer to be used under any circumstances.

“It then needs to be locked shut, of which, you can buy a padlock for. If this request is ignored, and the landlord should be approached by any governing body and enforcement be taken, then you could also be implicated.”

The student - who appears to have contacted the local media about the incident - says when she viewed the property prior to taking up the tenancy, the same room was being used as a bedroom by previous residents.

In a statement to the Oxford Mail, NOPS says the HMO licence forbids the use of that room as a bedroom as it does not have “adequate light as it is a high level window and does not meet the HMO requirement.”

The agency adds: “We have worked tirelessly with the council to ascertain whether anything can be altered to facilitate the use of the room as an adequate sixth bedroom. It cannot, however, we have managed to obtain it can be used as a second living area, just not a bedroom.”

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    Perhaps a phone call would have been a friendlier approach. The tone of the email, ignoring the grammar, was a little blunt. Finally why should the tenant buy the lock?

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    Does the email comment "I am afraid that this is not prohibited as per the HMO licence" not make sense as it actually suggests that it is not, not allowed?

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    It actually states it is not prohinited. The exact opposite of what they wanted to say. As Steuart says, why should the tenant buy the lock?

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    A stupid fuss over a stupid rule! I could understand it if it was about her doing something seriously bad like opening her egg from the big end or eating soup with a left handed spoon!


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