HMO additional licensing to continue

In response to the results of the City Council’s public consultation,  the additional licensing for HMOs which has been in force since 2011 will continue until 2021. The official notice can be downloaded here HMO Public Notice 2015. You can read more about this on the Council’s website here.

A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) is any house or flat that is occupied by three or more people who form more than one household.

HMOs are a major concern in Oxford and in our area. According to government statistics Oxford has the 14th highest number of HMOs in England and Wales. Only the large metropolitan and unitary authorities and some London Boroughs contain more.

They form an unusually high percentage of houses in the city. An estimated 1 in 5 of the resident population live in an HMO. The House Condition Survey of 2005 reported that HMOs provided the poorest homes in the city and that 70% were unsafe. High demand for properties means that some landlords can offer these lower quality properties but still be confident of finding tenants.

The City Council’s additional licensing is intended to ensure that:

  • the landlord of an HMO is a fit and proper person (or employs a manager who is)
  • each HMO is suitable for occupation by the number of people allowed under the licence (overcrowding is eliminated)
  • the standard of management of the HMO is acceptable
  • vulnerable tenants are protected
  • high-risk HMOs can be identified and targeted for improvement

Licensing of HMOs aims to:

  • protect the health, safety and welfare of all occupiers
  • help integrate HMOs into neighbourhoods
  • help in the reduction of anti-social behaviour
  • promote environmental goals
  • Improve the quality of the HMO housing rental stock

DRARA is actively engaged in monitoring the number of and management of HMOs in our area. Please contact DRARA if you are have any concerns about an HMO, whether as a tenant, a neighbour or indeed a landlord.








Come along to meet your neighbours over a glass of wine or juice at SS Mary and John Church this evening. Paul Wolf will be talking about Cowley Road Carnival and you can then discuss with the DRARA volunteers what issues you’d like us to focus on this year.

Refreshments will be provided.

You can download the agenda and Committee members’ reports here: AGM pack FINAL.


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Have your say on HMOs before 24th August!

The City Council is urging residents  to participate in the HMO licensing consultation before it closes this Monday.

From the council website:

‘Oxford City Council is urging the public to submit their views on proposals to extend its licensing scheme for Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HMO) for another five years before the consultation closes on Monday 24 August 2015.

The scheme was introduced in 2011 and has led to the licensing of nearly 3,500 properties in the city. Under the scheme, landlords have invested over £3.2 million in HMOs over the past four years to improve standards and provide better housing for residents.

Over the same period the Council has responded to 2,750 requests to deal with cases of poor conditions and management of HMOs. It has also successfully prosecuted 50 landlords and cautioned 39 others for failing to comply with HMO licensing requirements or management standards.

David Edwards, Executive Director for Regeneration and Housing, says: “We estimate that one in five residents lives in an HMO and because of Oxford’s acute housing shortage, this number is likely to continue to increase.

The HMO licensing scheme has helped to improve standards in the private rented sector and we would like to see further improvements to ensure tenants are not left at risk in poor condition houses.

We’re urging tenants, landlords, agents and the general public to take part in the consultation to renew the HMO licensing scheme for another five years.”

To take part in the consultation before it ends on 24 August 2015 please visit the Council’s website:

Drara Summer Fete a great success!

Many thanks to everyone involved for  making the day go so well.

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Yet again, the hard work was easier for many hands and laughs too. A special thank you to the Fete organising team of  Clare, Tamasin, Lisa, Deborah, Linda, Jacqui and Amanda AND their understanding partners.
Nearly 300 people came to eat homemade cakes, strawberries and cream, drink Pimms and tea and tuck in to delicious fish and chips.

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2015-06-21 14.55.51The rain stayed away and the pool was, as always, a huge hit for the kids along with plenty of fun and games.2015-06-21 12.34.092015-06-21 12.34.31

We were entertained with music from the East Oxford Youth Choir, the incredibly talented Alexander family with a solo performance from Phoebe Rose, Horns of Plenty  in full jubilant style,


Lucy Gibbons, who sang several favourites, and we were whisked to exotic lands by the belly dancing duo of Ashnah!

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Headington transport proposals: have your say!

Oxfordshire County Council is developing proposals to improve travel in and around the Headington area and is consulting residents for their views

What is this consultation about?

This consultation has been prepared by Oxfordshire County Council to seek the views of residents, workers and visitors to Headington on proposals to improve travel in and around the area.

Existing traffic congestion leads to a number of problems, including delays to bus services and an unwelcoming environment for pedestrians and cyclists. Congestion also affects those visiting the area including missed hospital appointments.

Access to Headington is a £12.5m package of schemes to improve access to major employment, health and education sites in Headington. This is also needed to support new housing and jobs in Headington, and beyond, without attracting more traffic to the area.  The implementation of changes is planned for summer 2016 to spring 2018.

Please follow this link to find out more and have your say.

Houses of Multiple Occupancy: have your say!

The HMO (Houses of Multiple Occupancy) Licensing Scheme is up for renewal. This scheme affects the rules and processes by which landlords have to apply and comply in order to rent their property to several individuals living in the same property.

The 10 week public consultation has just launched and they are seeking OUR views and ideas for the future of HMOs in Oxford.

Have your say. Go to:

Also, look out for the HMO roadshow – a series of engagement opportunities for members of the public throughout Oxford over the next two months. More details soon on events near you.


It’s not too late to grow your own produce. And just think of all the benefits of free exercise and free food, the sense of satisfaction and the delicious feeling of pride!

May is the perfect month for sowing seeds and planting plants. Whether they come from a packet or from the garden centre, green food plants like lettuce, broccoli, spinach, rocket and cabbage will flourish in warm moist weather.

If you’re new to vegetable growing, a good place to start plants from seed is on a warm sunny windowsill. This way you can control the temperature and the amount of water they get. But most seeds can be sown outdoors after the end of April so long as you keep a careful eye on them.

You can grow in tubs in the garden, in raised beds and even among the flowers.

If you don’t have a garden, you can grow salads and herbs outside in a window box.

You can take on an allotment if you have time and energy but it’s a good idea to start small. Don’t try to cultivate a large area all at once. Just clear and dig a small space and sow something that is quick growing, like mixed salad leaves.

The internet is full of advice but one of the best websites is this one from the Royal Horticultural Society.

And if you already doing any or all of the above, good luck, work hard and enjoy the benefits.

There’s no pleasure like that of eating your own home-grown food.

The DRARA Environment Action Group aims to support practical ways of reducing energy use and promote environmentally friendly lifestyles.   For suggestions for further Green Flashes or further information about the Environment Action Group, please contact: Anna on