At the Cabinet meeting this afternoon councillors voted to approve a new draft Private Rented Sector strategy. This follow months of campaigning by Portsmouth Labour on issues in the rented sector and calls for the council to extend compulsory licensing of private landlords.
Time and time again we’ve been told on the doorstep, in community meetings and on social media about the issues renters and neighbours have been facing relating to privately rented housing.
That’s why local Labour councillors and campaigners have led a campaign asking the council to do more to stand up for renters and take action against rogue landlords.
We looked elsewhere around the country to see what tools councils had used and found out that increasing numbers are taking advantage of their ability to extend landlord licensing schemes from the legal minimum, covering just large Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), to also include smaller HMOs and other privately rented properties.
Last year Portsmouth Labour councillors proposed a motion to a Full Council meeting which would have committed the local authority to implement extended landlord licensing schemes to improve tenants’ rights and drive up standards in the sector.
That motion was amended by Lib Dem councillors to remove the firm commitment to landlord licensing, instead replacing it with a general commitment to review the Private Rented Sector resulting in the Strategy paper brought to Cabinet today.
Labour spokesperson for housing, councillor Cal Corkery said:
“The draft Private Rented Sector strategy is in its current form a missed opportunity to stand up for renters and put in place measures that will have a significant impact on housing standards. While there is some mention of in future looking to extend landlord licensing to smaller HMOs there is no reference whatsoever to licensing other (non HMO) privately rented homes.
“The council must do all within its powers to drive up housing standards and force rogue landlords out of business. We’ll continue to engage with council officers and decision makers to propose ways in which the draft strategy can be strengthened so that it has teeth and will make a real impact on the lives of private renters and the communities in which they live.”