§ In any proceedings under Sub-section (2) of Section fourteen of the Act of 1920, or in which the standard rent of any dwelling-house to which the principal Acts apply is required to be determined, the court shall have power to order any party to the proceedings to rectify the rent book or similar document in manner prescribed by the order. If such rent book or document shall not be so rectified within seven days after the date of such order, no rent for the dwelling-house in question shall be deemed to accrue thereafter until such rectification shall be made.—[Sir R. Aske.]
§ Brought up, and read the First time.
§ 11.31 p.m.
§ Sir ROBERT ASKE
I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."
2512 The purpose of this Clause is to give to the court the power of rectifying a rent book. There is no such power at the present time. In many areas the rent book is the certificate of character for a tenant on applying for a house, and if a rent book is marked down as in arrear the tenant has no chance whatever of obtaining a new house until that rent book is marked as clear. It very often happens that there is a dispute as to the amount of rent that may be owing. It may be that there is a dispute as to whether the house has become a decontrolled house. It may be that the house has changed hands several times since 1923, and in those cases a very great difficulty arises in getting the necessary evidence as to whether the landlord has or has not had actual possession of the house. I have had certainly 30 cases where a landlord has claimed that the house has become decontrolled. He has given the tenant notice to increase the rent, the tenant has disputed it, and in consequence the tenant has gone on paying the controlled rent. But the landlord week after week has marked up in the rent book the rent which he claims, and at the end of the year there is a large sum marked up against the tenant as in arrear. The result is that the tenant has no chance of getting another house. The effect of the new Clause would be that in any proceedings the court may order a rectification of the rent book.
§ 11.33 p.m.
§ The SOLICITOR-GENERAL
This is a useful Amendment. If my hon. Friend will not bind us to the exact form of words we undertake that suitable words will be put in the Bill on Report.
§ Motion, and Clause, by leave, withdrawn.