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30 January 2012, 05:00
From today homes in Oxford rented out to 3 or more unrelated people will have to get checked out to make sure the property's up to standard.
Oxford City Council is the first authority in the country to bring in a licensing scheme for homes in multiple occupation (HMO).
The scheme was brought in after a 2005 House Condition Survey found that 70 percent of the properties were unsafe.
The first phase started in January last year with 933 licences issued for properties with three or more storeys and two storey HMOs with 5 or more unrelated tenants.
From Monday 30 January every landlord with a property with 3 or people who share a kitchen and bathroom will need to apply for a licence.
Councillor Joe McManners, Board Member for Housing, says:
"We have received a good response from the sector and I am pleased that they have embraced the scheme and co-operated with the council. Over 90 per cent of the applications for HMOs have been received using the online system on our website.
"HMOs have long been recognised as being a particular problem in the city, with many examples of poor quality homes and in some cases being poorly managed.
"These damage the reputation of good landlords and we are determined to put this right, and stop those doing the right thing being undercut by cowboys."
It's thought around 5,000 properties will need to be licensed with the threat of prosecution and a £20,000 fine for landlords who don't come forward.
Landlords with smaller properties will need to pay £362 for the first year with £150 to renew the licence while it'll be £470 for larger properties.
They could be made to spend thousands bringing the property up to scratch as well.
The scheme gives the council powers to inspect not only homes, but also homeowners themselves to make sure they will be able to manage the property properly.