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Landlords urged to research fully
A letting agent is urging Oxford landlords to be ready for possible changes to the way rental properties are assessed and regulated.
Bob Urwin, of Martin & Co, pointed out the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) had advised landlords to check with their local authority, or an ARLA-licensed landlord, before altering a property to accommodate more tenants,or buying a property to let.
Many local authorities, including Oxford City Council, have indicated they will enforce Article 4 legislation, where planning permission is needed if a property is changed from a dwelling house to a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO).
HMO licences only apply to homes with five or more unrelated tenants living in one property with shared amenities such as a bathroom and kitchen, on more than three levels.
But in April last year, a new Class C4 category was introduced, which includes any rental home with three to six unrelated tenants, who share common facilities.
Article 4 is optional, so may not be implemented by all local authorities, but it is more likely to be enforced in Oxford because of the high number of HMO proper-ties and students. Mr Urwin said: “We understand Oxford City Council do plan to implement A4 as from mid-April 2012.
“We are hoping it will only apply to change of use. If there is a house with four or more sharers, we hope that when people apply for a licence the property will be inspected, they will get a licence and won’t have to apply for planning permission.
“But it is important for any landlord considering changing the use of a property to fully research the regulations.
“Factoring in possible costs of purchasing the licence is also vital. The cost of an HMO licence is £400-£600 and if planning consent is required there will be additional costs.” Further information from Bob Urwin on 01865 812116 or martinco.com