New Powers to Fine Rogue Landlords

We cautiously welcome the Council’s pledge to crack down on rogue landlords.

22 April 2017

We cautiously welcome Oxford City Council’s pledge to crack down on rogue landlords (reported in The Oxford Mail on 14 April). The Council will be able to impose fines of up to £30,000 under new powers brought in under the Housing and Planning Act 2016. It is sad that some unscrupulous individuals exploit the chronic shortage of decent affordable housing in the city.

However, ‘driving out’ irresponsible landlords is not as simple as it sounds. The demand for housing so far outweighs the supply that many private tenants, particularly families, choose to put up with appalling living conditions rather than face the prospect of eviction or rent hikes. And if significant numbers of properties come off the market as landlords are put out of business this will simply add to the housing shortage.

We would like to encourage the City Council to look at the possibility of using its own wholly-owned housing company to purchase, refurbish and rent these sub-standard houses themselves. Until there is a more equitable approach to the conundrum of housing in Oxford, this is only a very partial solution.