HC Deb 21 June 1920 vol 130 cc1925-45

(1) For the purposes of this Act, except where the context otherwise requires:—

  1. (a) The expression "standard rent" means the rent at which the dwelling-house was let on the third day of August nineteen hundred and fourteen, or, where the dwelling-house was not let on that date, the rent at which it was last let before that date, or, in the case of a dwelling-house which was first let after the said third day of August, the rent at which it was first let:
  2. (b) The expression "standard rate of interest" means in the case of a mortgage in force on the third day of August ninenteen hundred and fourteen, the rate of interest payable at that date, or, in the case of a mortgage created since that date, the original rate of interest;
  3. (c) The expression "net rent" means, where the landlord at the time by reference to which the standard rent is calculated paid the rates chargeable on, or which but for the provisions of any Act would be chargeable on the occupier, the standard rent less the amount of such rates, and in any other case the standard rent;
  4. (d) The expression "rateable value" means the rateable value on the third day of August nineteen hundred and fourteen, or, in the case of a dwelling-house or a part of dwelling-house first assessed after that date, the rateable value at which it was first assessed;
  5. (e) The expressions "landlord," "tenant," "mortgagee," and "mortgagor" in-chide any person from time to time deriving title under the original landlord, tenant, mortgagee, or mortgagor;
  6. (f) The expression "landlord" also includes in relation to any dwelling-house any person, other than the tenant, who is or would but for this Act be entitled to possession of the dwelling-house, and the expressions" tenant and tenancy" include subtenant and sub-tenancy, and the expression "let" includes sub-let;
  7. (g) The expression "mortgage" includes a land charge under the Land Transfer Acts, 1875 and 1897.

(2) This Act shall apply to a house or a part of a house let as a separate dwelling, where either the annual amount of the standard rent or the rateable value does not exceed—

  1. (a) In the case of a house or part of a house in the metropolitan police dis- 1926 trict, including therein the City of London, one hundred and five pounds;
  2. (b) in the case of a house in Scotland, ninety pounds; and
  3. (c) in the case of a house or part of a house elsewhere, seventy - eight pounds;
and every such house or part of a house shall be deemed to be a dwelling-house to which this Act applies:

Provided that—

  1. (i) this Act shall not, save as otherwise expressly provided, apply to a dwelling-house bona fide let at a rent which includes payments in respect of board, attendance, or use of furniture; and
  2. (ii) the application of this Act to any house or part of a house shall not be excluded by reason only that part of the premises is used as a shop or office or for business, trade, or professional purposes; and
  3. (iii) for the purposes of this Act any land or premises let together with a house shall, if the rateable value of the land or premises let separately would be less than one quarter of the rateable value of the house, be treated as part of the house, but subject to this provision this Act shall not apply to a house let together with land other than the site of the house.

(3) Where, for the purpose of determining the standard rent or rateable value of any dwelling-house to which this Act applies, it is necessary to apportion the rent at the date in relation to which the standard rent is to be fixed or the rateable value of the property in which that dwelling-house is comprised, the county court may, on application by either party, make such apportionment as seems just, and the decision of the court as to the amount to be apportioned to the dwelling-house shall be final and conclusive.

(4) Subject to the provisions of this Act, this Act shall apply to every mortgage where the mortgaged property consists of or comprises one or more dwelling-houses to which this Act applies, or any interest therein, except that it shall not apply—

  1. (a) to any mortgage comprising one or more dwelling-houses to which this Act applies and other land if the rateable value of such dwelling-houses is less than one-tenth of the rateable value of the whole of the land comprised in the mortgage; or
  2. (b) to an equitable charge by deposit of title deeds or otherwise.

(5) Where this Act has become applicable to any dwelling-house or any mortgage thereon it shall continue to apply thereto whether or not the dwelling-house continues to be one to which this Act applies.

(6) Where the rent payable in respect of any tenancy of any dwelling-house is less than two-thirds of the rateable value thereof, this Act shall not apply to that rent or tenancy nor to any mortgage by the landlord from whom the tenancy is held of his interest in the dwelling-house, and this Act shall apply in respect of such dwelling-house as if no such tenancy existed or ever had existed.

(7) Any rooms in a dwelling-house subject to a separate letting wholly or partly as a dwelling shall for the purposes of this Act be treated as a part of a dwelling-house let as a separate dwelling.

(8) This Act shall not apply to a dwelling-house erected after or in course of erection on the second day of April, nineteen hundred and nineteen, or to any dwelling-house which has been since that date or was at that date being bona fide reconstructed by way of conversion into two or more separate and self-contained flats or tenements; but for the purpose of any enactment relating to rating, the gross estimated rental or gross value of any house to which this sub-section applies shall not exceed—

  1. (a) if the house forms part of a housing scheme to which section seven of the Housing, Town Planning, &c., Act, 1919, applies, the rent (exclusive of rates) charged by the local authority in respect of that house; and
  2. (b) in any other case the rent (exclusive of rates) which would have been charged by the local authority in respect of a similar house forming part of such a scheme as aforesaid.


I beg to move in Subsection (1, a), after the word "date" ["before that date"], to insert the words "unless the last letting was on a date more than seven years before the third day of August, nineteen hundred and fourteen; in such a case the term 'standard rent' shall mean such rent as the local rating authority shall hold to have been the rent at which the house would have been let by a lease dated the first day of January, nineteen hundred and fourteen."

1.0 A.M.

This is an appeal to the Minister in charge of the Bill to do a piece of justice to a very small body of landlords owning a comparatively small number of houses, but people who are abominably hit if the actual words of the Bill as it stands at the moment in Clause 12, Sub-section (1) be carried out. The intention of the Minister is that the standard of 1914 should be taken for the basic rent on which everything should be calculated; but what was being paid in 1914 does not actually represent, in some cases, the value of houses in 1914. That is to say that tenants of houses let far back in the reign of Queen Victoria on a 21 years' lease, and even longer, were not paying what they would have been paying in 1914 if the houses had been let a few years before. They were paying the rent of twenty years earlier. But in the nineties there happened what affected the great part of the letting of houses in rural England, namely, the development of the motor. Houses that were let for a trifle because they were rather inconvenient for the railways, and remote, were, in the early middle nineties or even later—motoring not having yet developed—being let for a trifle, or were sometimes let for 21 years or other long leases. When the motor established itself, pleasant country houses off the road suddenly became enormously more valuable than before they were let on these long leases. Therefore, in 1914 the tenants of these places who got them for a trifle were enjoying what they never would have enjoyed if they had had to take them in 1910 or 1905. The unfortunate landlord was looking forward to the 21 years tenancies being run out in order that he might realise the real value of the house, the rent of similar houses all round about, the level of prices in 1914. The wording of this Clause will present his doing so. It ties him down to the prices of 1895 or 1896. There is nothing that makes a person so keenly aware of the facts of the case as being personally interested in it. May I give an example of the sort of thing I mean? It is the case not of a cottage but of a nice little country house and two acres in Surrey, rather conveniently placed for a railway station, let for a good deal under £100 in 1895. What is that worth, by modern standards, now? I happen to be the unhappy owner of such a property the rent of which by this Bill must be restricted to values of 1895, with the very trifling addition of 15 per cent. which is all that can be added by this Amendment made by the right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill. I want to appeal to him to look at the case for fixing the rent of such houses at what they were really worth in 1914 as compared to what they were worth in 1895. It is the only fair thing to do. I want to quote something even harder which will be caused by the wording of this Clause, and that is the case of the person who was the occupying landlord in the eighteen nineties and remained so down to 1914. I know a case in Oxford where an owner lived in his house in 1914—he has died since—and had been living there for forty years. According to the wording of this Bill, the rent is to be taken at the last letting before the date of the outbreak of the War. The last time the house was let was in 1869 and therefore by the wording of this Bill the basal standard rent on which everything is to be fixed is Mid-Victorian. I must appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to have mercy on the unfortunate landlords and the unfortunate owner tenants who, by the wording of this Clause, are cut down to Mid-Victorian prices.


I beg to second the Amendment.


I assume the hon. Gentleman (Sir C. Oman) will not be disposed to credit me with lack of appreciation of the quality of mercy; but I confess that I am not quite convinced that in this matter, at all events, there is any new outrage. There is nothing new in respect to these Mid-Victorian tenants. They have been groaning under this burden for the last five years, although they knew it not, therefore, there is nothing fresh, nothing unjust. But I had anticipated something of what the hon. Gentleman has in his mind, and he will see it set out in the next Amendment on the paper, which, I think, is a better way to deal with it. Some of my hon. Friends drew our attention to the question in Committee, and the Amendment is designed to cover cases where the rent by itself is not an indication of the value. I suggest that is the proper way to deal with this matter rather than by the Amendment of my hon. Friend.

Amendment negatived.

Amendment made: At the end of Subsection (1, a), add the words "and where at the date by reference to which the standard rent is calculated the rent was less than the rateable value, the rateable value at that date shall be the standard rent."—[Dr. Addison.]


I beg to move, at the end of Sub-section (1, f),to add the words "and the expression 'tenant' includes the widow of a tenant dying intestate who was living with him at the time of his death, or where a tenant dies intestate leaving no widow, any member of his family so residing with him, any question as to which member of his family, in the case of more than one so residing, is to be the tenant, to be decided in default of agreement by the county court."

This Amendment, which I move in a slightly varied form from that on the Paper, was put down in consequence of a pledge I gave to the hon Member for Middlesbrough (Mr. T. Thomson). As he pointed out, the present tenant might die, and it is right that the widow or those continuing the occupation should have protection. That, of course, was our intention. But it was pointed out that as the Act was drawn it would not have included the widow, and I am advised that it would be necessary to leave out the word "deceased" in the second line, and after the word "tenant" insert "dying intestate." If the tenant made a will, making somebody his heir, of course the question would not arise. I am also advised that after the words "where the tenant dies" the word "intestate" should be inserted, so that the Amendment would read: And the expression 'tenant' includes the widow of a tenant who dies intestate and who was living with him at the time of his death or where a tenant dies intestate leaving no widow any member of his family so residing with him, any question as to which member of his family, in the case of one so residing, is to be the tenant to be decided in default of agreement by the County Court. That makes it as clear as we can what the relations of the tenant are who should he entitled to continue the same protection.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether this would also apply to the dependents of women who died. There are a great number of cases of women who earn their living all over the country, journalists and others, who sometimes have old mothers living with them or young sisters. Very often a house is in the name of a sister or daughter. It would be hard if they died and the mother or sister might be turned out, whereas if the relation had been a man they would come under this Bill. I imagine if it is as I suggest it can only be an oversight in drafting. I know cases myself where the wives appear on the rate-books as the tenants, and very often they have invalid husbands living with them. It would be distinctly hard if a wife died and an invalid husband was turned out. I throw out the suggestion to the right hon. Gentleman. It may be that under this Bill they would have some protection.


Clearly they should have, and the word "man" should include "woman." I will see that it is put right.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: In Subsection (2, a), leave out the words "in the case of a house or part of a house."—[Dr. Addison.]

Lieut.-Colonel HURST

I beg to move, in Sub-section (2, a), to leave out the word "one" ["one hundred and five pounds"], and to insert instead thereof the word "two."

This Amendment, together with two other Amendments almost immediately following, has the effect of doubling the limits of rental value set forth in Clause 12. If hon. Members will look at page 12 they will see that the statutory protection promised in this Bill to tenants of dwelling-houses applies only to dwelling-houses in London where the present rent does not exceed £105, and in the case of houses in the provinces of England £78. My Amendment only deals with London and the provinces because I imagine that if Scottish members found any fault with the limitation of rent in Scotland they would know how to seek their own protection. So far as London and the provinces are concerned, I submit there is a very good case for the apprehension that is felt about this portion of the Bill, particularly in the case of business premises, which under Clause 13 are also covered by the Bill. My contention is that the present limit is inadequate to give due protection not only to business premises but also to dwelling-houses. The House will recognise that the limitation of the rentals of houses to which these Acts apply is absolutely a matter of discretion and caprice. In 1915 when the first Rent Restriction Act was passed it was only intended to apply to small working-class cottages. In 1919 the limit was raised very considerably, I believe roughly doubled. Now in 1920 it is again raised by this Bill to houses up to £105 rental in London, £78 in the provinces, and £90 in the case of Scotland. It is a purely arbitrary selection which defines these limitations of rent, and the classes which are now protected are very different from the classes which were protected in 1915. It is quite clear from the Bill of that year that the type of house which most needed statutory assistance against orders for ejectment consisted of purely working class cottages. At the present time the need is spread over a much larger area in society, and the data upon which the original limitation was founded are now absolutely out of date. Taking the case of dwelling-houses, it is obvious that a very large number of houses rented for £78 in England are not the houses of the wealthy in any way whatever. The new poor are very largely occupiers of houses who pay a rental of over £105 in London and over £78 in the provinces, and in many cases they simply occupy these larger houses because they happen to has e large families, and therefore require more accommodation. I, therefore, respectfully suggest to the Minister for Health that he should consider whether it is not possible to extend the protection to dwelling houses in excess of the somewhat narrowly defined rentals laid down in the case of Clause 12. A new and very important light so far as these dwelling-houses are concerned is thrown upon the operation of this Clause by reading Clause 13. Under Clause 13 this Bill applies not only to dwelling-houses, but also to business premises, and it is quite clear that the protection required by business premises at the present time against eviction either at the end of this quarter or of the September quarter, is required by many businesses of rentals much in excess of £105 or £78. I have another Amendment down on the Paper which seeks to protect all business premises of whatever rentals from actions of ejectment until the Select Committee has reported upon the whole question. Of course, at this stage one cannot guarantee that that later Amendment will passed, and, if not, it means that protection will only be given to business premises of a rental of £78 in the Provinces and £105 in London. In Manchester at the present time there are something like 600 business firms under notice to quit on 24th June, or 29th September, and in nearly all of those cases they have been given no option to purchase nor any option to pay increased rentals. Their position, therefore, is one of the most acute anxiety, and I understand in nearly 80 per cent. of these cases the rents paid are over £78 a year. Therefore, if you really wish to give business premises the protection promised, it is vital that the limits imposed by Clause 12 should be raised, and raised considerably above the £105 and £78 limits. Hon. Members will be very well aware that the actual rents paid by thousands of firms are not always proportionate to their wealth or prosperity. A man may make a very large income in a small shop, whereas a business employing a great deal of labour may make a very small margin of profit. Therefore, you cannot say that by a limit of rent you are protecting people who are struggling for a livelihood and excluding the rich Hon. Members must be well aware that a great many businesses which pay rents much in excess of £105 and £78 are by no means to be regarded as prosperous or beyond the reach of anxiety. In the interests, then, of the middle-class tenants of dwelling houses and still more in the interests of firms occupying business premises, I beg to move the Amendment, the effect of which will be to double the rentals that at the present time are laid down in the Bill.

Major NALL

I beg to second the Amendment.

Of course, it is well known that the limit laid down in the Bill of £105 will only touch the fringe of the housing question in an area such as that of the City of Westminster, where the rental is doubled and trebled every time the premises become vacant and it is increasingly difficult for the people who have to leave to find housing accommodation. There is one other point so far as this Amendment is concerned which I think ought to be borne in mind. That is, that I understand that the Ministry of Health is anxious that where possible larger houses should be converted into several flats. The owner of a house that is available for conversion may well pause before he does convert it after the passing of this Bill, for this reason, that if it is a house that he can let for more than £105 a year he keeps clear of the provisions laid down in this Bill. If, on the other hand, he adopts the idea so desirable in these days of converting the house into three or four flats of rentals below these limits, then each separate dwelling so created will come within the limits of the Bill and he is tied and is unable to make any further alterations in that rent. Therefore that man will endeavour to let that place as one house and so the conversion of the larger houses into so many smaller dwellings is delayed. If I am in order in dealing with the second pair of Amendments which affect the provincial rents at the same time, £78 in the provinces again is a very arbitrary limit. It leaves out of the scope of this Bill a whole lot of people in addition to the business premises referred to by my hon. and learned Friend, a whole lot of people thoroughly deserving of protection. I hope that my right hon. Friend will see his way either to accept the Amendments that are put down to increase these limits or, if he will agree, to withdraw the limits altogether. At the same time the Clause would read quite well if after "dwelling" in line 6 it were deleted down to line 13. I think it would make things much easier and clearer. Why should the landlord who is unfortunate enough to own property in these limits be restricted in the manner set out in this Bill, while an adjacent landlord who owns property beyond the limits of the Bill is in no way restricted. Why should these restrictions be made? Why should the unfortunate tenant in one case have no protection while the other is fully covered? I do not want to take up time unduly, but I do hope my right hon. Friend will either accept this proposal to increase the limits or in the alternative delete them from the Bill altogether.


I hope the Minister of Health will accept the Amendment. Now we have business premises included in the Bill the limit is wholly inadequate because except for small shops in the city it will not protect anyone because it is only small offices that are let at £105 a year. I submit that £105 is not the rent of a rich man, taking his rent as a tenth of a man's income and I submit he is entitled to protection as much as any others. I object to profiteering whoever does it. Whether houses or shops are let at a low rental or a high rental, I should like to see all limits abolished and all brought under this Bill. I hope the Minister of Health will see his way clear to adopting the modest suggestion of doubling the limits.


I cannot see my way to accept this Amendment. What is its object? What is the fundamental issue? It is that in consequence of the housing scarcity evictions have taken place and notwithstanding other drawbacks we have had to form certain special provisions for the tenants' protection. Everybody agrees that the general effect of this class of legislation upon housing provision is most unfortunate. There is no doubt at the present time we have no other option before us than this. We were bound to pass this class of legislation during the war and are bound to continue it now. I know Members of the Labour Party have criticised it and as the hon. Member for Central Edinburgh (Mr. W. Graham) said, we have got to get back to economic conditions, for the effect of the limitations of rents has been to keep capital away from building houses. The whole effect has been most disastrous upon housing conditions, and yet my hon. Friends want at this time of day to extend this proposal to every form of building. This is a proposal to which we have not been driven at the present time and I hope we shall never get to it. My desire is exactly the opposite. I want to limit the basis of these Acts as much as I can, for I know that they have done more than any other thing to prevent new building. It was with considerable reluctance that we extended the limit to the moderate extent to which it has been extended in this Bill. We recognise the evil influence that these Acts have had on the new provision of building and, therefore, we ought not move one inch beyond what we are compelled to go. Therefore, so far from rejoicing in the present prospect—my hon. and gallant Friend seeks to include every sort of building, from the Bank of England downwards—I say let us limit it as much as possible. We should not spread the influence of this class of artificial legislation. I cannot accept this Amendment, or the others which follow of a like nature.


I hope that the hon. and gallant Member who moved this Amendment will press it to a division. I do not think that the explanation of the Minister of Health is at all satisfactory. He says it is the case that these Acts are preventing building. I think we all agree with him on that. He gives that as a reason for leaving these houses of a higher rental free from the restrictions, and so these houses may be built with much more freedom than the class of house which come under the Rent Restrictions Act. That is not a desirable thing in view of the enormous shortage of small houses which have been prevented from being built, and I think it is a very sound reason for supporting the Amendment which has been moved. I quite agree that this sort of legislation is very undesirable. But to say that a class of people who happen to own small Louses and who have small influence should be treated differently from the owner of any other class of property is very invidious and very undesirable. This legislation has been necessitated by the war and through the exceptional shortage of these houses. Well, the condition applies to the houses of a higher rental, particularly with regard to business premises. That point has been made very germane to this Amendment, because it has been pointed out by the Mover that Clause 13 extends the protection of the Act to business premises. It is an undoubted fact that as recently as during the last six or eight months the shortage of these business premises has resulted in an enormous increase in rents. Take the city which I have the honour to represent (Kingston-upon-Hull). The increases that have taken place there in the rents of shops—and shops not of exceptional prosperity, but some of those which have difficulty in making both ends meet—have gone up 100, 200, and even 300 per cent. That is causing very great hardship and anxiety, and I think the proposal of the hon. and gallant Member who moved this Amendment, to double the rent, is one which is entirely reasonable, and which, on the grounds of equality, should be agreed to. I hope he will press it to a division.


I want to join with those hon. Members who have already spoken in favour of this Amendment. So far as the right hon. Gentleman is concerned, I hope he will not charge this House at 1.30 in the morning with a lack of clarity, because, if he thinks that, I am going to clear off home. I urge him to get the Bill through as soon as possible. With regard to the arguments advanced surely what was said by the right hon. Gentleman is only half a statement. I have always understood that this was a Bill to prevent profiteering. Profiteering in the class of building referred to has been far more rampant than with regard to the lower priced buildings which this Bill originally brought within its scope. I have here a list of premises to prove the scandalous profiteering which is going on, especially in this class of business premises. I will read them to the House. I think they have been verified and submitted to the Minister of Health. The present rent is £110 per year, the rent demanded is £350 per year; present rent£115,rent demanded £300; present rent £120, rent demanded £300; present rent £120, rent demanded £350. These people have no "bowels of compassion." Evidently those who have been letting houses where the original rents were equal are going one better than each other. If we are out to protect the owner of a shop or a house against undue profiteering, a man who pays a rent of £200 or £300 a year is entitled to protection as much as a man who pays £100 or less. I want also to point out that, so far as business premises are concerned, the present action of the landlords in increasing the rents is not only an injury, but it is creating a good deal of ill-feeling. The right hon. Gentleman says "We do not want to restrict building." But are we going to have what is tantamount to absolute robbery in the hope of getting more buildings put up? We have certain sections in other Acts of Parliament to prevent luxury buildings. Surely nobody who attempts to secure justice for the tenant can claim that this is a just Bill when it allows Clauses like these to permit the infliction of the Shy-lock proposals of the landlord. The right hon. Gentleman will not only be doing justice, but he would restrain the cupidity of those people, and if they are not included there will be a great outcry in the country that this Bill is giving license and liberty to the robbers of unfortunate tenants.


I should not have risen had not the last speaker given figures as regards the increased rents. He has not given the circumstances. I gave an instance the other day of a rent of £60 a year being put up to £200 a year.




It is not shame at all. The property was well worth it. The people were satisfied; they not only took it up, but also a large liability for rebuilding in the near future, and the property was well worth it. You talk about these things; let us know the circumstances. If the lease has fallen in, and it has been for 99, 80, or 50 years, I imagine those rents have not been increased unreasonably and that they cannot be called excessive. The Salisbury Committee that was set up pointed out definitely that business premises should not be included. You started with houses at a rental of £35; you then went up to £70, and now you are going up to £105. It seems to me that if you go on you will have no houses. You will encourage nobody to build; this limitation will have a most disastrous effect. People will not build if you keep on extending these Acts. Every hon. Member has got up and said how he deplores these Acts, and yet he wants to increase this. There is no rhyme or reason or any sense in that. We want to get rid of these Acts as soon as possible and get back to economic conditions, so that everybody can have a fair deal without interference in these matters. I think the amount should not be increased at all, that it is high enough as it is, and I am sure that everybody who has to deal with property will realise the difficulties you are creating by these Acts.

Colonel NEWMAN

The right hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill has my entire sympathy in resisting this Amendment. I was responsbile for proposing upstairs the Amendment to introduce business premises. The right hon. Gentleman warned us quite fairly what was going to happen. He said that if my Amendment for business premises were accepted every shop and every house of every sort would at once be brought into the Bill and the Bill would have to be extended. I laughed at that. I did not believe it. Well, it has happened; the Amendment has come along. Therefore I sympathise with the right hon. Gentleman and am prepared to support him in resisting it. He has promised that a Committee will be set up to deal with the question of business premises, offices, or shops. What the average retailer, shopkeeper and business man wants is something in the nature of a tenants' Bill. If the terms of reference to the Select Committee are wide enough he will be able to do justice to this particular class.


I would like to say a word or two in support of the Amendment. I am sorry to disagree with my representative in Parliament the hon. Member for St. Pancras [Mr. Borden] who on this occasion I am afraid does not represent me. I do not see why the owners of small property should be penalised whilst the owners of the bigger properties go scot free. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, and, besides that equitable principle, it is a very necessary proposal. Where are the representatives of the Middle Classes?

Colonel: NEWMAN

I am here!


We hear a lot of talk outside about the way the middle classes are being ground between the upper and the nether mill stones, but when it comes to a practical proposal of this sort in the House they have very few friends to support their case. This is really in the interests of the middle classes, and for that reason I support it, because in this part of the House we are not narrow in our sympathies.


I desire to put my own point of view in regard to this matter. I appreciate very highly the action of the right hon. Gentleman in setting up this Select Committee for dealing with business premises, but before his Committee can frame a report hundreds of business men in all parts of the country will be ejected from their premises and will be entirely ruined. I should be quite willing to agree to a larger increase in many cases than is proposed in this Amendment, and I do suggest the Government should take some steps to protect these tenants from eviction until the Committee has reported. If a promise of that kind is given I should be prepared to support the Amendment, but in the absence of any promise I should be bound to support the hon. Gentleman who has moved this Amendment if he goes to a Division.


I am not at all convinced by the arguments of the hon. Gentleman as to why the House should not support this Amendment. I gather from his remarks that his chief and only objection is that it is going to discourage building. The one form of building which is most desirable at the present time is the small cottage; it is in that direction that the greatest need is felt; and yet that is the particular type of building to which the right hon. Gentleman wishes the House to apply the Bill. As regards the other class of houses the scarcity is not so severe, and therefore I cannot accept his argument that by extending the Bill we are going seriously to affect the types of houses which are most particularly wanted in this country.


I am satisfied that some such provision as is suggested in the Amendment needs to be made so far as business premises are concerned. Business men of my acquaintance inform me that they have a very real grievance in these matters. Mention has already been made of the attempts to raise the rents of business premises. The same evil is operating the other way round. Two or three cases have come to my knowledge of the owners of business premises approaching tenants and suggesting that they should purchase the premises they occupy. If there has been any hesitation on the part of the tradesman, who has probably spent the greater part of his business life there and built up a satisfactory business connection, the owner of the property at once suggests that he will lend the tenant the money at 6 or 6½ per cent. interest. With the value that is put upon the property, the interest that is charged on the mortgage is equivalent to a tremendous increase in the rent that the man is already paying. The Minister of Health stated in the Committee upstairs, I believe, that any penalty which fell upon the tradesman in this way ultimately found its way to the purchaser of the goods, and I believe very largely that that it is so—


I am sorry to interrupt my hon. Friend, but we are going to have a discussion a little later on on an Amendment to Clause 13. I do not want to have to argue the question of business premises times over by arguing it now. I suggest there is another Amendment which will bring it up properly in a direct form, and that this is a question which had better be discussed there.


I believe that the charge upon the business premises does find its way back to the purchaser of the goods sold. If we protect the purchaser by a Profiteering Act, we ought to protect him from indirect imposition by the action of the tradesman putting the extra price on to his goods.

Further Amendments made: In Sub-Section (2b) leave out the words, "in the case of a house."

In Sub-section (2c), leave out the words "in the case of a house or part of a house."—[Dr. Addison.]


I beg to move, at the end of Sub-section (4), to add the words When a mortgage comprises one or more dwelling-houses to which this Act applies and other land, and the rateable value of such dwelling-houses is more than one-tenth of the whole of the land comprised in the mortgage, the mortgagee may apportion the the principal money secured by the mortgage

Question put: "That the word 'one' stand part of the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 105; Noes, 27.

Division No. 152.] AYES. [1.52 a.m.
Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. C. Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot Newman, Colonel J. R. P. (Finchley)
Atkey, A. R. Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E. Norton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir John
Bagley, Captain E. Ashton Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham Ormsby-Gore, Captain Hon. W.
Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel John Parker, James
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Glyn, Major Ralph Perkins, Walter Frank
Barnston, Major Harry Goff, Sir R. Park Pinkham, Lieut.-Colonel Charles
Barrand, A. R. Gray, Major Ernest (Accrington) Pollock, Sir Ernest M.
Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes) Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.) Pownall, Lleut.-Colonel Assheton
Bennett, Thomas Jewell Greig, Colonel James William Prescott, Major W. H.
Betterton, Henry B. Hacking, Captain Douglas H. Pulley, Charles Thornton
Birchall, Major J. Dearman Hallas, Eldred Raw, Lieutenant-Colonel N.
Blades, Capt. Sir George Rowland Hamilton, Major C. G. C. Reid, D. D.
Boles, Lieut.-Colonel D. F. Haslam, Lewis Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert A.
Borwick, Major G. O. Henderson, Major V. L. (Tradeston) Shaw, William T. (Forfar)
Boyd-Carpenter, Major A. Hope, Lt.-Col. Sir J. A. (Midlothian) Stanley, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. G. F.
Brittain, Sir Harry Horne, Sir R. S. (Glasgow, Hillhead) Steel, Major S. Strang
Bruton, Sir James Inskip, Thomas Walker H. Stephenson, Colonel H. K.
Buckley, Lieut.-Colonel A. Jephcott, A. R. Sturrock, J. Leng
Casey, T. W. Jones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Llanelly) Sugden, W. H.
Chamberlain, N. (Birm., Ladywood) Jones, William Kennedy (Hornsey) Sutherland, Sir William
Coates, Major Sir Edward F. Kerr-Smiley, Major Peter Kerr Taylor, J.
Coats, Sir Stuart Law, Rt. Hon. A. B. (Glasgow, C.) Thomas, Sir Robert J. (Wrexham)
Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale Lewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales) Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)
Conway, Sir W. Martin Lindsay, William Arthur Vickers, Douglas
Cooper, Sir Richard Ashmole Lloyd-Greame, Major Sir P. Warner, Sir T. Courtenay T.
Coote, Colin Reith (Isle of Ely) Lorden, John William White, Lieut.-Col. G. D. (Southport)
Craig, Colonel Sir J. (Down, Mid) Loseby, Captain C. E. Whitla, Sir William
Curzon, Commander Viscount McLaren, Hon. H. D. (Leicester) Wills, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Gilbert
Dawes, Commander M'Lean, Lieut.-Col. Charles W. W. Wilson, Daniel M. (Down, West)
Du Pre, Colonel William Baring Manville, Edward Wilson, Colonel Leslie O. (Reading)
Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon) Moore, Major-General Sir Newton J. Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.
Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark) Moreing, Captain Algernon H. Young, Lieut.-Com. E. H. (Norwich)
Eyres-Monsell, Commander B. M. Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert Younger, Sir George
Ford, Patrick Johnston Murray, John (Leeds, West)
Forestier-Walker, L. Murray, Major William (Dumfries) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Forrest, Walter Neal, Arthur Lord Edmund Talbot and Mr. Dudley Ward.
Barnes, Major H. (Newcastle, E.) Hinds, John Rose, Frank H.
Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W. Holmes, J. Stanley Royce, William Stapleton
Bromfield, William Jones, Sir Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil) Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgston)
Clough, Robert Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington) Seddon, J. A.
Entwistle, Major C. F. Lynn, R. J. Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)
Fraser, Major Sir Keith Murray, Dr. D. (Inverness & Ross) Young, Sir Frederick W. (Swindon)
Glanville, Harold James Myers, Thomas
Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central) Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Greene, Lieut-Col. W. (Hackney, N.) Palmer, Charles Frederick (Wrekin) Lieut.-Colonel Hurst and Major Nall.
Hanna, George Boyle Raffan, Peter Wilson
Hayward, Major Evan

between such dwelling-houses and such other land by giving one calendar month's notice in writing to the mortgagor, such notice to state the particulars of such apportionment, and at the expiration of the said calendar month's notice this Act shall not apply to such part of the said principal money as is apportioned to such other land and for all purposes, including the mortgagor's right of redemption, the said mortgage shall operate as if it were a separate mortgage for the respective portions of the said principal money secured by the said dwelling-houses and other such land, respectively, to which such portions were apportioned.

Provided that the mortgagor shall before the expiration of the said calendar month's notice be entitled to dispute the amounts so apportioned as aforesaid and in default of agreement the matter shall be determined by a single arbitrator appointed by the President of the Surveyors' Institution."

By Clause 12 Sub-section (4) the mortgages to which this Bill is to apply are defined, and it provides that if any mortgage comprises property which is within the Bill, then in that case the mortgage shall be within the Bill.

2.0 A.M.

As every member knows there are some mortgages which comprise several properties together. Some of the properties may be of a rental which would bring them within the Bill and the remainder might be outside. For instance, you might get a mortgage upon an estate which might cover the mansion house and other buildings, and tenants' cottages, etc. Or you might get a mortgage upon a factory with dwelling houses adjoining. It was contemplated that some such thing would happen in the original Act, and it was decided that if ten per cent. of the property comprised in the mortgage was properly subject to the provisions of the Act then the whole mortgage should be brought within the provisions of the Act. I suggest, and I put down an Amendment to that effect in Committee, that that was not the right way to deal with a matter of this kind, and that a better method would be to give the mortgagee in such a case the right to apportion his mortgage money among the two classes of property: that he should be compelled to apportion part of the principal money upon those properties which come within the Act, and the remainder upon the properties which were outside the Act. In doing so I submit it was only carrying out the principles of the Act, because it was never intended that in such a case the Act should apply to mortgages upon properties outside the Act altogether. The object of the Amendment which I have now put down is to enable the mortgagee, and I think I have provided proper safeguards, to make such an apportionment, and if this Amendment be accepted, and it has been intimated that it may be, it will provide that the mortgagee will be able to give notice to the mortgagor apportioning the mortagage upon those moneys coming within the Bill and those which are outside. That notice shall give information with regard to the apportionment and at the expiration of the notice, for all pur- poses, including the mortgagor's right to redeem, that mortgage shall be considered two mortgages—one for the property covered by the Bill and the other for the remainder, and, therefore, that at the time that this Bill becomes an Act it will only apply to the mortgage falling within the Bill. In order to safeguard the mortgagor the Amendment provides that he shall be entitled to dispute the amount of the apportionment, and in case it cannot be settled between the mortgagor and the mortgagee it shall be determined by a single arbitrator who shall be appointed by the President of the Surveyors' Institution. If this Amendment be accepted and embodied in the Bill I think it will remove what appears to me to be a real difficulty in the Act as it has been, and will remove a very great hardship which I know has existed in several cases as anybody who has had experience of these matters knows very well. There are a large number of cases of mortgages covering a number of properties of this description. I beg to move the Amendment in the amended form in which I have presented.


I beg to second the Amendment.


This matter was gone into in Committee upstairs, and the Minister in charge of the Bill said he would look into it. Having considered it, we are prepared to accept the Amendment in the form in which it has been presented

Amendment agreed to.


I beg to move, in Subsection (8), to leave out the words "house to which this Sub-section applies," and to insert instead thereof the words "such house to which this Act would have applied if it had been erected before the third day of August, nineteen hundred and fourteen, and let at that date."

This is in connection with the proposals as to the question of rating which will affect the new houses. This proposal says for the purpose of any enactment relating to rating, the gross estimated rental or gross value of any house to which this Sub-section applies shall not exceed"— That is to say, the proposal passed in Committee was that in the case of houses specially built by a local authority they should not be rated unduly highly be- cause of their high cost, but we should take as their basis of assessment the rent at which the authority let them; and as regards new houses otherwise built in the same locality that basis should also apply. In order to make the words quite clear, it is necessary to leave out the words "house to which this Sub-section applies," and insert the words as I have given them in the Amendment. That makes it quite clear that this provision applies to the new houses.

Amendment agreed to.


I beg to move at the end of the Clause to add a new Sub-section— (9) Where possession has been taken of any dwelling-houses by a Government Department during the War, under the Defence of the Realm regulations, for the purpose of housing workmen this Act shall apply to such houses as if the workmen in occupation thereof at the passing of this Act were in occupation as tenants of the landlords of such houses. This is a case where certain houses for example have been acquired by the Admiralty, the War Office and other departments during the war for war purposes and where persons have become the tenants—soldiers, sailors, as the case may be. Owing to the lapsing of the Act it is doubtful whether or not tenants whilst continuing it occupation of these houses are in fact tenants, and it is everyone's desire that they should have as much protection as this Bill gives. This makes it quite clear that they are.

Amendment agreed to.