HC Deb 06 April 1950 vol 473 cc1350-1
40. Mr. G. Williams

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware of the hardship caused under the Rent Restrictions Acts and that tenants are forced to live in uncongenial homes owing to the impossibility in many cases of the landlords doing the necessary repairs; and if he will therefore implement the recommendations of the Ridley Report.

Mr. Bevan

I have received representations to this effect, but, as I stated in reply to a Question by the hon. Member for Harrow, West (Mr. Bower), on 9th March, there is no prospect of early legislation to revise the Rent Restrictions Acts.

Mr. Williams

Is the Minister aware, first, that all landlords are not wicked and, secondly, that in many cases rents are not sufficient for them to keep their property in proper repair? In the long run it is the tenant who suffers, and suffers badly.

Mrs. Jean Mann

Is my right hon. Friend aware that tenants were living in uncongenial conditions for 20 years between the wars and were paying 25 per cent. increase in house rents in respect of repairs? Why were repairs not carried out then?

Mr. Bevan

It is true that the existing rents include the proportion of the standard rent for repairing property and for voids. Since long before the war there have been no voids and, therefore, the landlord has been getting his rent regularly and also retaining the proportion of the rent he receives for repairs.

Mr. Walker-Smith

Does not the right hon. Gentleman know that the position is different in respect of the two sorts of controlled houses? Is he not aware that for a very long time the position in regard to repairs has been both contradictory and unsatisfactory under the rent Acts? When can they be brought in to simplify and review the whole matter?

Mr. Bevan

I have already explained that it is not the intention of His Majesty's Government to introduce legislation to amend the Rent Restrictions Acts in this House.

Mr. Eric Fletcher

Is my right hon. Friend satisfied that in the numerous cases where landlords are not doing repairs local authorities are exercising their powers to do repairs?

Mr. Bevan

The local authorities, of course, have very considerable powers in this matter and it is my view that in very many instances they do not exercise the powers to the extent which they should.

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