§ Where a sub-tenant is in occupation of part of a dwelling-house the landlord may apply to the Court to determine whether any room or rooms in the part of the dwelling-house so sub-let shall be given up to a person who is prepared to purchase the dwelling-house as a residence in the event of the Court deciding in favour of the applicant.—[Mr. Penny.]
§ Brought up, and read the First time.
§ Mr. PENNY
I beg to move "That the Clause be read a Second time."
I do not think many words are necessary to explain the object of this Clause the terms of which are, in themselves, sufficiently explanatory. Cases have come to my knowledge of sub-tenants who are left in possession of part of a house, and the portion which has been vacated by the tenant is such that it is next to impossible to find another tenant to take over the vacant part. It is not my desire to interfere with those sub-tenants who have no more than reasonable accommodation, but as it now stands a hardship is inflicted on the small owner in this respect. In the case of a man who has invested all his savings in one house, a sub-tenant should not be entitled to claim the right to retain an unreasonable amount of the accommodation of that house, merely because the previous tenant was content to live in limited accommodation and "just anywhere." The Clause leaves the matter with the Court to decide and cannot lead to any arbitrary interference with the rights of the sub-tenant because it may safely be assumed that the Court would require conclusive evidence before deciding in favour of an applicant.
I understand the object of this Clause is to meet a case where a landlord could make an arrangement with a tenant to sell a house, if it were not that the sub-tenant will not part with his sub-tenancy. The Clause as it stands does not appear to give any directions to the Court as to how they are to determine the question which is put to them, but assuming that the Court is intended to determine in such cases in favour of the landlord, I would suggest to my hon. Friend that the sub-tenant has as much right to protection as the tenant. That is the whole theory of the Act. I think if my hon. Friend will consider what might take place, he will see that the landlord is not the only party in these cases. He could sell the house to the tenant, subject to the condition that the tenant would have to take over the sub-tenant, and, if that were done, the tenant would then be, as regards the sub-tenant in the same position as the landlord was in with regard to the tenant. Therefore, being a landlord who had obtained possession of the house, after the 30th June, 1922, he could claim and get possession of the house under Clause 3, Sub-section (1), paragraph (b), of the Bill, and unless greater hardship was caused to the tenant than to himself, he would not have to find alternative accommodation. In these circumstances, I think perhaps my hon. Friend might not think it necessary to press his Amendment.
§ Motion and Clause, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The new Clause, in the name of the hon. and gallant Member for Maidstone (Commander Bellairs)—(Facilities for rights of possession for building purposes)—should come as an Amendment to Clause 3.