Councillors from the Tories and Lib Dems teamed up to block a Labour motion on landlord licensing at Full Council this afternoon.
Following a popular community campaign, Labour councillors had proposed the council look into implementing a licensing scheme for all private landlords.
But in unprecedented scenes, around half of all councillors –including the seconder of the motion –had to leave the chamber following legal advice that all landlords and private tenants had financial interests in the issue and therefore could not take part in the debate.
In response Labour councillors proposed a point of order which would have allowed the seconder of the motion to be amended and the motion heard.
However, all the remaining Tory councillors and a few Lib Dems voted against allowing the motion to be discussed, or voted on, meaning the motion fell. The Lib Dem Cabinet Member for Housing, Darren Sanders, abstained.
The Labour spokesperson for housing, Councillor Cal Corkery, was due to propose the motion. He said:
“It is incredibly frustrating that this afternoon Tory and Lib Dem councillors voted against discussing landlord licensing and regulating the private rented sector.
“Tens of thousands of people in Portsmouth rent privately and too many of them have issues with rogue landlords, poor conditions and anti-social behaviour.
“Our motion could have helped address those issues and people have been let down by councillors who prevented it being heard.
“We’ll be continuing to campaign on this issue and standing up for those renters who need our support.”
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