JUST a fraction of Oxford’s shared houses are meeting the required standards.

New rules were introduced in January 2010 which meant landlords of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) must have their properties inspected and licensed.

During the first year, until December 2011, Oxford City Council issued 338 licences – and just 11 of those, or three per cent, were issued without any additional conditions.

City board member for housing Joe McManners said: “I think this shows why there is a problem and why it is excellent that we are able to get these houses brought up to a decent standard.

“The fact that there is a lot of work which is being done shows a lot of these homes are not in a fit state.”

The new regulations were introduced in two phases. From January 2011, landlords of three-storey houses or two-storey houses for five people or more were told to get their property inspected for £362, make any necessary alterations and renew the licence annually.

The rules were then rolled out to include properties with three or more sharers this January.

Since then, the council has received an extra 1,065 applications.

Oxford is the only council in the country to require all HMOs to be licensed.

Oxford Brookes Student Union advice worker Jo Cox said: “We are fully behind the changes.

“We get so many students having problems with their houses and something needed to be done.”

One student, who did not want to be named, said: “I had the world’s most decrepit mattress and faulty bed which it took the agents four months to replace.”

Another added: “I just want to live in a clean and safe home that is checked up on every now and then by the landlord.”

One in five Oxford residents currently lives in a shared home and a house condition survey in 2005 revealed 70 per cent of Oxford’s estimated 5,000 HMOs were “unsafe”.

James Street resident Ed Chipperfield, 35, said: “There are a lot of houses still in East Oxford which are completely squalid.

“And despite what the good landlords claim, there is still a lot of work to be done in bringing housing up to a satisfactory standard.”

Last month, the Oxford Mail reported how city letting agents and landlords feared the regulations would drive people out of the city.

Last night, letting agent Bob Urwin, of Martin & Co, said: “We have always agreed with licensing for houses where you have got five people living in a three-storey house.

“But we think it is totally wrong to introduce it in any kind of property where you have three people sharing, as we find these houses are generally in a very good condition.

“We are finding that every application we put in is requiring some kind of change, but not because inspectors are finding damp or the garden needs tidying up.

“It is for new additional safeguards which have just been introduced, like wiring in a smoke alarm rather than having it battery operated, or adding a fire door when a kitchen opens into a living area.”

Since the scheme came into effect, there have been eight prosecutions against landlords managing unsafe HMOs and one letting agent.

Another two cases are going through the courts and a further 88 cases are under investigation.

More than 2,000 warning letters were sent to landlords in December.

The council has also taken over the management of one HMO because the landlord was not a fit and proper person to hold a licence.

Fewer than 15 undersized and uninhabitable rooms have been totally prohibited by the council.