A landlord accreditation scheme in Oxford has been branded ‘discriminatory’ and ‘unlawful’ by the Residential Landlords Association.
The RLA said only private landlords accredited by the council can obtain a longer HMO licence, even if they are able to display their qualities in other ways.
According to the association this isn’t just an issue in Oxford, as similar problems have been happening in Coventry and other cities.
David Smith (pictured), policy director for the RLA said: “It is very concerning that there are so many apparent illegalities in Oxford City Council’s accreditation scheme.
“The RLA strongly urges the local authority to review the scheme and would welcome the chance to meet with council representatives to discuss our concerns further.”
The Oxford City Council responded to the RLA’s comments.
Ian Wright, head of regulatory services and community safety, said: “We received a letter from the RLA and responded on 23 April offering a meeting to discuss the matters raised.
“It is disappointing that the RLA has chosen to issue a press release before meeting with us, but we are obviously still happy to meet with them.
“Our HMO licensing scheme aims to protect tenants and ensure their homes are in good repair and meet fire, gas and electrical safety standards.
“We developed the system following lengthy consultation with local landlords, who requested that we reward landlords who do more to look after their tenants with lower fees and longer licences.
“We took these comments on board when we designed the scheme.”
The RLA has threatened the council with judicial review, should Oxford City Council not take action.