Unfortunately no, the Council has the power to reject your application and restrict the number of HMOs in a particular area. If the house has been continuously occupied as a HMO immediately before 24th February 2012 then it already has planning permission from a C3 class to a C4 HMO but if your property was not let out continuously before this date as a HMO you will need to contact the planning department to apply for change of use. This is very hard to achieve and change of use to a C4 class is only granted if there is less than 20% HMO properties within a 100 meter radius of the property being applied for. The legislation is driven by residents of East Oxford being unhappy at high volumes of student households in particular roads.
It’s also important to note that if the property is currently let out to students or professional sharers and then let to a family unit the HMO licence is automatically reverted back to a C3 class and planning permission will need to be applied for to gain back the C4 class and you may never get this back again.
It all depends on your property if it is a modern build there should not be too much remedial works needed to bring the property up to HMO standard but if you have an older property more works may be needed. It would also depend on the number occupants you have living in the property as this will determine the facilities you will require. There are minimum standards on room sizes, natural light & ventilation into rooms, heating, and kitchen and bathroom facilities in ratio to occupants. Oxford City Council has an amenities and facilities guide which outlines what the council will expect as a minimum standard. This guide covers all aspect of the HMO requirements. We will be able to supply you with estimates for the works required so you can evaluate full costs of required works before committing to anything.
The most common examples of work required for an HMO are fire doors to kitchen and living rooms, underlining the stairs to give them at least 30 minute fire protection, key-less exit locks to all external doors so doors can be opened straight away without a key and mains interlinked fire alarm system with a heat alarm in the kitchen and smoke alarms.