Decision details

Private Sector Housing Policy (pre-consultation)

Decision Maker: City Executive Board (became Cabinet on 13 May 2019), Cabinet

Decision status: Recommendations approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes


The policy will set out the future priorities and areas of intervention in the private rented and owner occupied residential sectors in Oxford and will clarify the regulatory approach to be taken by the Council.


The policy will be considered at the following meetings:

·         CEB – February 2016 for pre-consultation

·         CEB – July 2016 post-consultation


The Executive Director of Regeneration & Housing submitted a report which presented a draft Private Sector Housing Policy for discussion and amendment prior to public consultation.


The Board Member, Corporate Strategy and Economic Development presented the report and thanked officers for their work. He highlighted the following points:

·         The Council’s Award winning Additional HMO Licensing Scheme is a major plank in the Council’s approach to regulating and improving some of the worst housing stock in Oxford. The Licensing Scheme  will be maintained and further refined and improved, with a greater focus on unlicensed HMOs

·         Regulation and Improvement of Continuing and extending the proactive work being carried out in the non-HMO rented sector to regulate and improve Dwellings Occupied by Families or Single Occupants

·         Identifying and introducing a Selective Licensing Scheme to deal with poor management and property conditions and address anti-social behaviour associated with non-HMO privately rented properties

·         Dealing with unlawful developments being used as substandard accommodation and ensuring that “beds in sheds” do not become an accepted feature of the PRS in Oxford

·         Continuing to support some of the most vulnerable people in Oxford by providing facilities which enable them to live in their own homes with dignity, and provide support allowing them to get home from hospital

·         Enabling funding for home improvements for owner-occupied properties in poor condition.


In discussion the Board noted that there was no single source of information on the numbers of privately rented properties in the city.  Officers drew on a variety of data sources including census data and publicly available information from estate agents.  For this reason the Board felt that the number of private rented properties in the city detailed in the report was probably understated.


The Board learnt that this scheme would seek to replicate the HMO licensing scheme and learn from that process. The consultation was part of the evidence gathering and a further report covering the results of the consultation and setting out the detailed arrangements for the scheme would be submitted later in the year.


The Board noted with concern the growing public misconception that the HMO licensing scheme had contributed to the increase in rents across the city. They agreed that this needed to be challenged and corrected.  The Executive Director of Regeneration & Housing undertook to include a rebuttal statement as part of the consultation.


The City Executive Board resolved to:

1.            Approve the draft Private Sector Housing Policy 2016 – 2019 for public consultation.


Councillor Turner left the meeting during consideration of this item.

Report author: Ian Wright

Publication date: 12/02/2016

Date of decision: 11/02/2016

Decided at meeting: 11/02/2016 - City Executive Board (became Cabinet on 13 May 2019)

Effective from: 17/02/2016

Accompanying Documents: