A councillor has criticised an MP who came out in favour of landlords in a dispute over licensing.
Earlier this week Landlord Today reported on how Tory MP James Duddridge, who represents Rochford and Southend East, criticised the local Southend council for proposing a controversial licensing scheme.
The MP said at the time: “It will disincentivise new landlords from coming to the marketplace and give a reason for existing landlords to get out of the sector. This will lead to a reduction in the number of properties available to rent in Southend and in turn push up rent prices for residents.
"I am sure the council’s intentions are good, but this proposal will just drive the very behaviours they are hoping to avoid.”
Now an independent councillor has made a personal attack on Duddridge, who is the government’s parliamentary under-secretary of state for Africa.
Martin Terry, quoted in the Southend Echo, says: “It’s disappointing to see our local MP coming out against this. What our MP needs to do instead of spending all his time working overseas is to have a walk around his own constituency and look at the way some people are suffering in his own constituency.
“The five year licence works out at £2 a month so what’s the problem with that? There really is no problem.”
The council’s licensing deal comes after an attempt by local landlords to work with the authority on a voluntary arrangement to improve conditions in the private rental sector.
But in a consultation on licensing proposals, only 22 per cent of landlords who responded supported the initiative.
However, the council is ignoring that and progressing the proposals, which will cover four wards.
Council leader, Ian Gilbert, says in the Echo: “Our sense is we have gone as far as we can with a voluntary arrangements and we need an arrangement that’s on a proper statutory footing where we can put a proper compliance regime into place if we are going to tackle some of the more difficult areas.”