51. Mr. JENKINS
asked the Minister of Health whether his attention has been drawn to a recent judgment in the Court of Appeal which places on the tenants of controlled dwellings the onus of proof of such control; and whether he will take immediate steps to introduce amending legislation?
§ Sir K. WOOD
I have given careful consideration to the issues raised in this decision which has, I think, been the subject of some misconception. I am advised that no difficulty is likely to arise in the case of a tenant who was in occupation of his house on 17th July, 1933, since the necessary facts will be normally within his own knowledge. In the case of a tenant who was not in occupation at that date, it may sometimes be a matter of difficulty to prove whether the house was or was not decontrolled, but in such a case the difficulty would create a hardship only if the landlord attempts to raise the rent or regain possession of a house which has either been improperly registered or, having been in the occupation of a tenant on 17th July, 1933, has not been registered at all. I am satisfied that such a contingency is unlikely to arise since, apart from other considerations, the Acts impose substantial penalties on a landlord who knowingly makes a false claim that a house is decontrolled. I may add that the working of the Acts is under the close scrutiny of the local authorities who have power to prosecute for contravention of the Acts. In these circumstances, the decision does not, in my view, call for any immediate action, but I shall carefully watch any developments that may take place.