EDINBURGH councillors who are private renters have been blocked from voting on a proposed rent freeze in the city.

This week, Edinburgh City Council is set to debate a motion on council house rent that also calls on the Government to maintain a freeze on private and social rented homes.

Advice was sent to councillors around declaration of interests for the debate - with representatives who are private renters and landlords blocked from voting.

The rationale behind the decision was based on the premise that councillors who rented in the private sector would have a financial and declarable interest that would prevent them from voting on the issue.

The guidance added that while the Councillors’ Code of Conduct gives an exemption allowing representatives who are council house tenants to vote on council rents - there was no such exemption for private renters and landlords. 

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In an email exclusively revealed to The National, the reasoning behind the decision was laid out.

The letter said: "If you are a private sector tenant or a landlord then there is no exemption and this is classed as a connection within the code.

"However, given there is a financial interest here, both for tenants and landlords, then our advice would be that this is a declarable interest and would mean you could not take part in the consideration of the whole of this item."

The issue sparked fury online as the tenant’s union Living Rent said the move suggested renters weren't being taken seriously.

They wrote: “Edinburgh Council are debating a rent freeze motion and councillors who are tenants have been blocked from voting. They need to be able to represent their constituents.

“Edinburgh Council needs to take tenants' voices seriously now.”

Meanwhile, SNP councillor Marco Biagi, said he was “reluctant” to follow the guidance.

He tweeted: “As a private renter I have reluctantly taken advice of the senior council staff to step out of this debate. But I am not convinced that the advice given is sound. Every councillor has to live somewhere so does everyone have to declare an interest whenever housing is discussed?”

The Scottish Green Edinburgh Council group has been contacted for comment.

Edinburgh City Council leader Cammy Day has been contacted for comment.