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Landlord councillors banned from debate on city rent freeze

Bristol councillors who are landlords have been told they cannot speak in a debate on rent controls. 

Earlier this week we explained how Bristol’s Labour council would be debating the need for private rent controls - even though the authority has no powers to implement such controls.

Now council lawyers say landlords would have a financial interest in a vote - the same legal advice extends to those councillors who are themselves private tenants.


Local media report some 16 councillors were asked to leave from the chamber in City Hall on Tuesday, January 10, ahead of a debate on bringing in rent controls for the private rental sector, as well as new protections for tenants.

In any case a majority of this remaining councillors backed rent controls in the city.

Labour’s Tom Renhard, cabinet member for housing, proposed the controls and told colleagues at the meeting: “I rented in this city for over a decade, and while I was a renter I saw and experienced much. There is a chasm that exists in the power imbalance between the minimal protections that renters have and the powers that landlords and letting agents continue to hold.

“If you complain about the conditions of your property, there may be a threat of retaliation of losing your home. If you refuse to pay the rent increase, you might be kicked out and replaced with someone who will, irrespective of whether it’s affordable to them.

“Of course we need to build more social housing and we’re committed to that. 

“However, the continued marketisation have seen homes become increasingly unaffordable to buy and rent across the country. Homes should first and foremost be a fundamental human right. This means we need rent controls.”

Green Party councillor Carla Denyer, seconding the proposal, said: “Thatcher’s market deregulation left tenants with little protection from price shocks and the threat of eviction at any time. The private rental sector has ballooned, while social housing — genuinely affordable homes for families — has dwindled.

“Housing should be first and foremost about providing quality homes as a cornerstone for a happy and healthy life. We realise the need for urgent intervention, and it’s great to see Scotland, with Greens in government, carefully but determinedly leading the way on stabilising rent rises.”

Opposing the controls, Tory leader Councillor Mark Weston said: “Having a publicly accessible list of enforcement notices, where you can actually track what the landlords are doing, is an excellent idea. 

“But rent controls don’t work. Rent controls are not the solution, they never have been.

“It so distorts the market that the only people it helps are the people who are on it at the moment, but the instant they want to move or someone else wants to join it, you destroy that economic basis. Rent controls don’t work. It’s not going to solve a problem in Bristol which is inherently supply and demand. That is the issue here. Your solution doesn’t rectify that.”

Some 35 councillors backed controls and nine were against.

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  • icon

    They are killing the golden goose and don’t seem to care 🤔

  • Steven Williams

    So surely if councillors who are landlords are a conflict of interest, then surely councillors who are themselves tenants are a conflict of interest also?


    Yes, the article clearly says that renters were given the same advice.


    Long time no hear from Leics, happy new year mate.



    Pity LL hasn't spent his absence on education or acquiring common sense!


    Hello, Robert. If you think anything I have said is factually incorrect, feel free to correct it.

  • icon

    Why do Councillors and politicians feel they have to right to dictate the price of something they do not own? If you want to control it, own it.

  • icon

    Steven Williams, correct 100%.

    The same goes for HMO Licensing Schemes in London.
    The Consultation includes all Residents in the Borough so that’s millions and millions of house holders that never house anyone other than themselves and if they do it’s tax free, so why does those millions have a free vote on landlord & Tenant consultation. The Council’s are guaranteed the Result they want every time, currently one in Brent finishing very soon, its fake & fraud on landlords. Might as well go the full hog and have a General Election HMO Consultation.

  • icon

    After declaring an interest, both landlords and tenants should have been allowed to contribute to the debate as they have first hand knowledge, but neither should have been able to vote.


    They should still be allowed to vote.

    In fact, anyone with zero experience of the reality of how the PRS works should be banned from voting.
    Over 80% of PRS tenants are happy with their homes and their Landlords and the only views that count should be those of landlords and tenants.

  • icon

    Nothing like balanced views and a free market.
    It'll be interesting to see where the socialist ideologists re-house their homeless when landlords are forced to sell or worse still repossessed off the back of the mortgage rises.
    I'm not saying the world is a nice place to be for anyone at the minute financially but very few seem to understand most landlords costs have also increased also.


    Oh they understand all right, they just don’t care.

  • luigi kippelwich

    Despite landlords being ejected .... Labour’s Tom Renhard, cabinet member for housing, proposed the controls had history of ten years of renting where he perceived issues because of his rental experience, clearly was not removed for having interests. Ironic?


    Because his experience as a tenant is in the past: he no longer has a pecuniary interest to be affected.

    The same would apply to a former landlord who had sold up.


    It's been said before.

    You really don't sound like a landlord!


    I've explained how the rules about Councillors' pecuniary interests work, not sure how that means I don't sound like a landlord.


    He /she isn't, he / she has a vast knowledge of the law, solicitor, no win no fee, works for Shelter, Generation Rant, don't think I'm far off the mark am I ?


    Sherlock Townshend, the world's worst detective. Not even close. Don't give up the day job.


    Come on Leics spoil the beans, it's clear you know the law inside out, also you have a dislike of landlords

  • icon

    If their argument was that things changed with Thatcher's deregulation wasn't that because ASTs didn't exist in their current format before then and there was very little private rental housing. Wasn't it pretty much a choice of social housing or slum landlords? I was a tenant in the early 1980s and the standard of the rental properties I saw was dire. The one I lived in for 3 years was condemned and had a prohibition order placed on it shortly after the Council rehoused me.

    The standard of PRS properties today is beyond the wildest dreams of the average 1980s tenant. It gives choices and mobility that simply didn't exist until the AST was introduced.

    The real problem is that Social Housing is too cheap. If a more realistic rent was charged Social Housing providers could afford to buy or build far more stock and better maintain what they already have.


    It is very wrong that we the tax payers are subsidising social housing rents, there are some very well paid people enjoying the cheap rents in social housing, union leaders and the leader of Norwich Council are just examples of these scroungers milking the system, surely the correct approach would be FULL markets rents for all social tenants with a house hold income of £30k+, discounts on a sliding scale for those under £30k, would that not be fair ?

  • icon

    This just sums it all up. Those campaigning for change are simply not interested in understanding the issues from the other side of the fence. How can they possibly have a balanced debate!! The irony is beyond comprehension!!


    Again, both landlords and tenants were required to declare an interest and absent themselves from the debate. This has been the law for decades and applies to every matter before every local authority.

    It has nothing to do with campaigners wanting not to hear from both sides, because it was not a decision made by them and because the law applies to both sides equally.

  • icon

    CAN'T SPEAK CAN'T VOTE Fascist dictatorship then


    Nonsense doesn't stop being nonsense when you put it in block capitals, you know.



    I'm confused. Your nonsense isn't in capitals!

    I take it you would ban both patients and doctors from having any influence on health care as both have vested interests.

    Of course, such a view can be totally justified by how successful politicians are running things currently!


    I didn't make the rules, Robert. I just explained how they work. Whether you or I agree with them is neither here nor there.

  • George Dawes

    Reminds me of the current follow the science twaddle - right over a cliff

  • icon

    They are making sure to destroy us, how many pieces of anti LL legislation in recent years, huge penalties like a parking ticket but thousands of pounds, banning Orders, Confiscation Orders, Civil law made Criminal law, 2015 De-Regulation Act, licensing Schemes, introduction of S.24, Removing S.21 the very foundation of the Private Rented Sector before which there was no Private letting. The Rogue Renters Reform Bill by a Sacked discredited Housing Secretary removing all landlords rights and installation the Tenant in perpetuity like 1960’s. The Tenant can leave at any time nothing new here they alway did, but can also stay forever ever when you might hate to sight of him, but you must justify to the Tenant why ? I don’t need his permission when I build the house or get any financial support from anyone but now must justify myself to him.
    There timing is very good we just had Corona for 2 years and bailed out the Country, huge hike in interest rates, just add a war going on somewhere
    A Redress Scheme coming what for no one to Redress us.
    An Ombudsman for Tenants what for where’s ours.
    Oh! yes a Landlord Association has won a big Concession to have Insurance for the Pets you don’t want and by an extraordinary coincidence they would be providing it, another money steam like the Redress
    Schemes. We are been taken for some mug we can see in and out through them.

  • icon

    Jo. I think Council housing is Social housing which is cheaper to the occupants only because the Council’s don’t have to pay 40% tax on their rental income like me. So remove our tax from the equation our rents are probably cheaper than Council Housing.


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