Labour-run Oxford City Council has been campaigning, alongside residents' groups, to raise standards in privately rented housing. A badly run or poorly maintained property, particularly a shared house, can be a real blight on an area, as well as causing hardship to the tenants themselves.
New rules requiring shared houses to be licensed have now been introduced, and the initial results have been impressive: noise complaints have fallen by more than half, complaints about rubbish have fallen by two thirds, and complaints about poor conditions have reduced by a third. So far 25 landlords have been prosecuted for breaking the rules, with another 22 receiving a formal caution.
New planning rules have also been introduced to avoid family homes being lost to shared housing if there is already a concentration of shared houses in the area, striking a balance between families and single people in housing need.
Of course, most landlords do a good job, but it is important that those who don't manage their properties properly, or who fail to maintain them, are not allowed to disrupt the lives of their tenants and the wider community.
Andrew Smith MP has long fought for better housing standards in the City, and endorses the City Council’s regulations. “This is a great example of the Labour City Council taking positive action to improve the quality of life in Oxford.”