§ It shall be compulsory in every rent-book to show the standard rent in nineteen hundred and fourteen, with additions allowed and any increase for improvements.—[Mr. Mander.]
§ Brought up, and read the First time.
§ 12.12 a.m.
§ Mr. MANDER
I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."
The object of this is to make clear in the simplest possible manner precisely what each tenant has to pay. There would be no particular difficulty about the owner ascertaining the required information, but there is very great difficulty often in the tenant finding it out and very often they do not know what legally they have to pay as rent. Many 2526 owners take the gross rent in 1914, including rates, as the basis of the rent that they charge. There can be no doubt that a large number of tenants are paying more than they are required to do through ignorance of the facts. In many cases it may be that the owner is also ignorant of the facts. By making it statutory that information should be given in the rent book, a very real service would be rendered to large numbers of people who are doing what the Statute does not desire them to do and paying more than they need. Some rent books actually give a place for this information to be supplied voluntarily. There are other forms of rent book where there is no place for it. I believe it is suggested that the Clause in its present form is not altogether practicable and that the date is not always 1914. If that is so, might I suggest the addition of some such words as "or such date as may be appropriate."
§ 12.14 a.m.
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL
The Government sympathises with the purpose with which the Clause is moved, but it is not practicable in its present form. The hon. Member says there is no difficulty about the owner knowing what the facts are, but there is a Clause in the Bill that was put in for the express purpose of getting over the difficulty in numerous cases where owners neither know nor can know what are the facts on which the standard rent is based. In order to comply with this Clause, they would have to go to court and get a decision under Clause 5. That will not do. But under Clause 8 we have power to make regulations, amongst other things, as to what is to appear in the rent book. Without committing ourselves to any form of words, it is designed to ensure that all reasonable information is, given to the tenant under that Clause.
§ Mr. MANDER
After the assurance-given by the hon. and learned Member that the Government do intend, as far as they can, to make use of their powers under this Bill when it becomes an Act, to give this information, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Clause
§ Motion and Clause, by leave, withdrawn.