HC Deb 12 April 1938 vol 334 cc959-1082

Where a dwelling-house to which the principal Acts apply is part of another dwelling-house to which those Acts apply, the standard rent of the first-mentioned dwelling-house as from the twenty-ninth day of September, nineteen hundred and thirty-eight, shall be a standard rent ascertained by apportioning the standard rent of the second-mentioned dwelling-house, and Sub-section (3) of Section twelve of the Act of 1920 shall apply accordingly notwithstanding that the first-mentioned dwelling-house was let as a separate dwelling on or before the first day of August, nineteen hundred and fourteen, or on or before the date on which the second-mentioned dwelling-house was first let.—[Mr. Ammon.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

4.23 p.m.

Mr. Ammon

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

In Section 12 (3) of the Act of 1920 it is laid down that the county court can apportion rent for the purposes of determining the standard rent on the first letting after 3rd August, 1914, but that was rather upset by a decision in the courts in 1929 which declared that the premises in question were not separately let on 3rd August, 1914. The Clause seeks to put that right. If the Clause is carried, it will be possible in such cases for the standard rent to be apportioned, taking into consideration the rent previous to 1914, the addition of 40 per cent., and the increase of rates.

4.24 p.m.

The Minister of Health (Sir Kinsgley Wood)

I shall be glad to accept this Clause, but should like to say a word with regard to it. As I understand the matter, if a house was legally sub-let in 1914, the rent actually charged to the sub-tenant at that date is the standard rent of the sub-let part, and all the increases, etc., are based on this standard rent. The Clause proposes that, as from 29th September, 1938, the existing law shall be altered, so that in future the standard rent of any sub-let part of a controlled house shall be the proper proportion of the total standard rent, having regard to the relative proportion of the total occupation occupied by the tenant and sub-tenant. It may be that this arrangement would go far to prevent profiteering by sub-tenants, but I should say that probably the greater number of sub-tenancies are already dealt with on the basis of apportionment, because the actual part sub-let was not sub-let in 1914. The new Clause, therefore, will only affect a minority of sub-lettings. I think that it will put the matter in a form such as the House would desire, and for that reason I am prepared to advise the House to accept it.

4.26 p.m.

Mr. Bellenger

I should like to ask the Minister a question, merely for purposes of information. He has referred to subletting. Do I understand that, in accepting this Clause, he regards it as dealing with cases where tenants holding a whole house from a landlord proceed to sub-let portions of it; or does it refer to hereditaments that were let by the landlord himself—not sub-let—in 1914, or, in other words, tenement houses?

Sir K. Wood

I should think, myself, that it would apply to all sub-lettings, but, if the hon. Gentleman will allow me, I should like to verify that.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

  1. NEW CLAUSE.—(Further amendment as to ascertainment of standard rent.) 5,340 words, 1 division
  2. cc973-87
  3. NEW CLAUSE.—(Dwelling houses of low value.) 6,294 words, 1 division
  4. cc987-1003
  5. NEW CLAUSE.—(Production of documents by local authorities.) 6,454 words, 1 division
  6. cc1003-29
  7. NEW CLAusE.—(increase of rent in respect of improvements.) 11,495 words, 1 division
  8. cc1029-32
  9. NEW CLAUSE.—(Restriction on possession of furnished sub-letting.) 803 words
  10. cc1032-65
  11. NEW CLAUSE.— (Provisions as to excessive rent in the case of certain decontrolled houses.) 12,655 words
  12. cc1065-75
  13. NEW CLAUSE.— (Control of business premises.) 5,463 words, 2 divisions
  14. cc1075-82
  15. NEW CLAUSE.— (Discontinuance of permitted increase in. rent.) 3,171 words, 1 division