Portsmouth City Council is controversially planning to introduce a landlord licensing scheme in the city without potentially allowing around half of local councillors to debate the proposal because they are either private landlords or tenants.
As landlords or tenants, they would have a conflict of interest if a motion to introduce licensing for private landlords in the city is heard as planned later today, according the council’s legal team.
Despite the advice, the council’s Labour-led administration is set to push ahead with the motion to introduce more stringent penalties for unscrupulous landlords.
Cllr Cal Corkery, who proposed the motion, seconded by Cllr Tom Coles, who privately rents a property, said: “We will still try to have it heard, either by taking alternative advice or seeing if the council will allow us to change the seconder.
“Many councillors are either going to be landlords or tenants who rent privately. I understand why landlords cannot vote on the motion because they have a financial interest, but for tenants it's more about ensuring their rights are upheld.
“This is so important. When we go out and about campaigning it's one issue that's brought up time and time again, how some tenants are being mistreated by landlords.”
However, Conservative leader Cllr Donna Jones, who is a landlord, described the situation as a “silly error” on Labour's part.
She commented: “From our calculations more than 15 councillors would have to declare an interest and leave the chamber.
“This is a basic rule of the standing orders and a silly error for the Labour group to have made.”