Landlords face fines over HMO licences

Bicester Advertiser: Ian Wright Ian Wright

COUNCIL officers will knock on doors in an effort to catch licence-dodging land-lords.

Enforcement bosses say about 1,860 landlords face fines of up to £20,000 each for not applying for a house of multiple occupation (HMO) licence.

Since January 2011 more than 3,000 landlords in Oxford have either applied for a licence or been given one, with nearly 900 licence applications currently pending.

Council health development service manager Ian Wright, pictured, said the authority planned to come down hard on rogue landlords from next month.

He said: “There are around 2,000 properties out there which still require licences.

“In some cases this will be because they don’t know, for example if they are living somewhere like Dubai and have a family member in Manchester keeping an eye on their property for them, they might not have heard about HMO licences. “But we think there’s quite a lot of people who know about it, but are effectively avoiding it and waiting for us to find them.”

Mr Wright said the council had worked with residents’ groups over the course of the year to identify homes which were operating as shared houses without a licence, but said the council has been taking an increasingly proactive approach.

This includes meeting with letting agents and with community groups to let people know about the scheme and a new publicity campaign will begin in the New Year.

He said: “There is no real excuse for not knowing about these regulations.”

City council deputy leader Ed Turner said: “Landlords have had until now to come forward and licence their HMOs but regrettably some haven’t.

“This scheme has been extremely widely advertised and the fact that so many properties have been licenced shows that.If you are a landlord with a HMO it is still not too late to get in touch.”

For landlords caught flouting the law, the consequences are severe.

The council can impose a “finders fee” to pay for officers’ time spent trying to track properties down.

And they can face a fine of up to £20,000 for being unlicenced, and further fines if their property is in an inadequate condition.

The scheme was unpopular with some landlords, because the licences cost from £362 per property.

National Landlords’ Association policy officer Gavin Dick said landlords had opposed blanket HMO licensing on the grounds that councils already had powers to fight problems such as anti-social behaviour, poor waste management and run-down properties.

He said: “There is already a lot of legislation in place which helps councils deal with these problems, which are often there as a result of councils’ failure to carry out adequate enforcement.”

He added that it was likely a proportion of landlords were unaware of the law, but admitted some were breaking it on purpose.

 

HMO figures since Jan 2011

  •  Estimated number of HMOs in Oxford: 5,000
  • Number of licences issued: 2,250
  • Number of licences currently pending: 884
  • Estimated number of licences outstanding: 1,866
  • Maximum fine for failure to licence: £20,000
  • Number of landlords fined: 15
  • Total fines: £28,703
  • Number of landlords cautioned: 16

Comments (6)

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10:31am Sat 15 Dec 12

Lord Palmerstone says...

More pointless displacement activity. If what these clerks do is described as "work" then God help us. I hate to say it but Pol Pot was right. Send them out into the fields to sow winter wheat. They'd be very bad at it, I'm sure, but at least in a little way it'd be useful, not completely useless as they are now, no doubt on upwards of 25K a year of our money; which all of us could spend so much better if we weren't being fleeced by the grossed-out State.
More pointless displacement activity. If what these clerks do is described as "work" then God help us. I hate to say it but Pol Pot was right. Send them out into the fields to sow winter wheat. They'd be very bad at it, I'm sure, but at least in a little way it'd be useful, not completely useless as they are now, no doubt on upwards of 25K a year of our money; which all of us could spend so much better if we weren't being fleeced by the grossed-out State. Lord Palmerstone
  • Score: -2

12:25pm Sat 15 Dec 12

Tommy82 says...

Lord Palmerstone wrote:
More pointless displacement activity. If what these clerks do is described as "work" then God help us. I hate to say it but Pol Pot was right. Send them out into the fields to sow winter wheat. They'd be very bad at it, I'm sure, but at least in a little way it'd be useful, not completely useless as they are now, no doubt on upwards of 25K a year of our money; which all of us could spend so much better if we weren't being fleeced by the grossed-out State.
Do you not think it is an important thing to do? Enforcing regulations to stop landlords who frequently "fleece", student and private tenants whilst providing poor, sub-standard accommodation for very high rents.
[quote][p][bold]Lord Palmerstone[/bold] wrote: More pointless displacement activity. If what these clerks do is described as "work" then God help us. I hate to say it but Pol Pot was right. Send them out into the fields to sow winter wheat. They'd be very bad at it, I'm sure, but at least in a little way it'd be useful, not completely useless as they are now, no doubt on upwards of 25K a year of our money; which all of us could spend so much better if we weren't being fleeced by the grossed-out State.[/p][/quote]Do you not think it is an important thing to do? Enforcing regulations to stop landlords who frequently "fleece", student and private tenants whilst providing poor, sub-standard accommodation for very high rents. Tommy82
  • Score: 0

2:44pm Sat 15 Dec 12

Andrew:Oxford says...

Every non state or pseudo- state rental property in Oxford is a business and should be subject to a new form of business rates - whether or not the property is vacant or occupied.

Far too much money is "escaping" untaxed to overseas landlords, a new formal business rating system and published landlords database where a tenant can check:-

That their landlord is licensed
The absolute owner of the property (obtained via digital link with land registry).
If the property is mortgaged (again via digital link with land registry)
If repayments are up-to-date (via digital link to Experian)
If the owner is up-to-date with rates payments (council records).
Date of last gas service (data from a new Gas-safe registry?)

Business rates based on property value, with bi-annual revaluations.

(Clearly, if business rates are paid, the occupants would be exempt from council tax.)
Every non state or pseudo- state rental property in Oxford is a business and should be subject to a new form of business rates - whether or not the property is vacant or occupied. Far too much money is "escaping" untaxed to overseas landlords, a new formal business rating system and published landlords database where a tenant can check:- That their landlord is licensed The absolute owner of the property (obtained via digital link with land registry). If the property is mortgaged (again via digital link with land registry) If repayments are up-to-date (via digital link to Experian) If the owner is up-to-date with rates payments (council records). Date of last gas service (data from a new Gas-safe registry?) Business rates based on property value, with bi-annual revaluations. (Clearly, if business rates are paid, the occupants would be exempt from council tax.) Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 0

5:43pm Sat 15 Dec 12

Lord Palmerstone says...

Tommy82 wrote:
Lord Palmerstone wrote:
More pointless displacement activity. If what these clerks do is described as "work" then God help us. I hate to say it but Pol Pot was right. Send them out into the fields to sow winter wheat. They'd be very bad at it, I'm sure, but at least in a little way it'd be useful, not completely useless as they are now, no doubt on upwards of 25K a year of our money; which all of us could spend so much better if we weren't being fleeced by the grossed-out State.
Do you not think it is an important thing to do? Enforcing regulations to stop landlords who frequently "fleece", student and private tenants whilst providing poor, sub-standard accommodation for very high rents.
No. But if it's your "job" then fair enough. You no doubt have a mortgage and children to support. I don't mean to be cruel but we both know very well that "licensing" is simply a way of pretending to do something, and , as you will say, the oil is still bubbling up so people don't need to make things or grow things and substitute activity is fine till the hydrocarbons run out.
[quote][p][bold]Tommy82[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Lord Palmerstone[/bold] wrote: More pointless displacement activity. If what these clerks do is described as "work" then God help us. I hate to say it but Pol Pot was right. Send them out into the fields to sow winter wheat. They'd be very bad at it, I'm sure, but at least in a little way it'd be useful, not completely useless as they are now, no doubt on upwards of 25K a year of our money; which all of us could spend so much better if we weren't being fleeced by the grossed-out State.[/p][/quote]Do you not think it is an important thing to do? Enforcing regulations to stop landlords who frequently "fleece", student and private tenants whilst providing poor, sub-standard accommodation for very high rents.[/p][/quote]No. But if it's your "job" then fair enough. You no doubt have a mortgage and children to support. I don't mean to be cruel but we both know very well that "licensing" is simply a way of pretending to do something, and , as you will say, the oil is still bubbling up so people don't need to make things or grow things and substitute activity is fine till the hydrocarbons run out. Lord Palmerstone
  • Score: -1

5:46pm Sat 15 Dec 12

Lord Palmerstone says...

Andrew:Oxford wrote:
Every non state or pseudo- state rental property in Oxford is a business and should be subject to a new form of business rates - whether or not the property is vacant or occupied.

Far too much money is "escaping" untaxed to overseas landlords, a new formal business rating system and published landlords database where a tenant can check:-

That their landlord is licensed
The absolute owner of the property (obtained via digital link with land registry).
If the property is mortgaged (again via digital link with land registry)
If repayments are up-to-date (via digital link to Experian)
If the owner is up-to-date with rates payments (council records).
Date of last gas service (data from a new Gas-safe registry?)

Business rates based on property value, with bi-annual revaluations.

(Clearly, if business rates are paid, the occupants would be exempt from council tax.)
If you think this country needs more taxes then you need help. If you're afraid that the cash from rents is sent overseas then bloomin well vote for UKIP and keep the immigrants out.
[quote][p][bold]Andrew:Oxford[/bold] wrote: Every non state or pseudo- state rental property in Oxford is a business and should be subject to a new form of business rates - whether or not the property is vacant or occupied. Far too much money is "escaping" untaxed to overseas landlords, a new formal business rating system and published landlords database where a tenant can check:- That their landlord is licensed The absolute owner of the property (obtained via digital link with land registry). If the property is mortgaged (again via digital link with land registry) If repayments are up-to-date (via digital link to Experian) If the owner is up-to-date with rates payments (council records). Date of last gas service (data from a new Gas-safe registry?) Business rates based on property value, with bi-annual revaluations. (Clearly, if business rates are paid, the occupants would be exempt from council tax.)[/p][/quote]If you think this country needs more taxes then you need help. If you're afraid that the cash from rents is sent overseas then bloomin well vote for UKIP and keep the immigrants out. Lord Palmerstone
  • Score: -1

1:58pm Sun 16 Dec 12

Andrew:Oxford says...

Lord Palmerstone wrote:
Andrew:Oxford wrote:
Every non state or pseudo- state rental property in Oxford is a business and should be subject to a new form of business rates - whether or not the property is vacant or occupied.

Far too much money is "escaping" untaxed to overseas landlords, a new formal business rating system and published landlords database where a tenant can check:-

That their landlord is licensed
The absolute owner of the property (obtained via digital link with land registry).
If the property is mortgaged (again via digital link with land registry)
If repayments are up-to-date (via digital link to Experian)
If the owner is up-to-date with rates payments (council records).
Date of last gas service (data from a new Gas-safe registry?)

Business rates based on property value, with bi-annual revaluations.

(Clearly, if business rates are paid, the occupants would be exempt from council tax.)
If you think this country needs more taxes then you need help. If you're afraid that the cash from rents is sent overseas then bloomin well vote for UKIP and keep the immigrants out.
There's no need to visit this country to buy property here.
[quote][p][bold]Lord Palmerstone[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Andrew:Oxford[/bold] wrote: Every non state or pseudo- state rental property in Oxford is a business and should be subject to a new form of business rates - whether or not the property is vacant or occupied. Far too much money is "escaping" untaxed to overseas landlords, a new formal business rating system and published landlords database where a tenant can check:- That their landlord is licensed The absolute owner of the property (obtained via digital link with land registry). If the property is mortgaged (again via digital link with land registry) If repayments are up-to-date (via digital link to Experian) If the owner is up-to-date with rates payments (council records). Date of last gas service (data from a new Gas-safe registry?) Business rates based on property value, with bi-annual revaluations. (Clearly, if business rates are paid, the occupants would be exempt from council tax.)[/p][/quote]If you think this country needs more taxes then you need help. If you're afraid that the cash from rents is sent overseas then bloomin well vote for UKIP and keep the immigrants out.[/p][/quote]There's no need to visit this country to buy property here. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 0

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