HC Deb 02 February 1953 vol 510 cc1462-4
36. Mr. Isaacs

asked the Attorney-General if he is aware that tenants in South London of the landlord calling himself D. Brady are receiving letters demanding arrears of rent and threatening legal proceeding and eviction from persons using fictitious names which are the reversal of the names of streets in which Brady has property, for example, Wootton Street converted into Nottow Limited, Sultan Street converted into Natlus, and despatched from accommodation addresses in London and Dublin; and what action he proposes to take to protect these tenants from annoyances.

The Attorney-General (Sir Lionel Heald)

In my opinion the facts stated in the right hon. Gentleman's Question do not in themselves disclose a prima facie case of the commission of a criminal offence. Accordingly, I do not propose to take any action.

Mr. Isaacs

While I appreciate the answer which the hon. and learned Gentleman has given me, may I ask him whether persons resident in a country over which we have no jurisdiction have any legal power behind them in the threats which they are making to people about evictions?

The Attorney-General

I can add nothing to the answer I have given.

Mr. Mellish

Would the hon. and learned Gentleman not agree that the time has now come when the powers of local authorities ought to be strengthened in this matter in order to deal with landlords of this character, who are ignoring statutory notices and using all sorts of threats to intimidate tenants?

The Attorney-General

That is all a matter of opinion, and it is also another matter.

Mr. Woodburn

Have local authorities no power under statute to take those houses over to be used for public purposes?

The Attorney-General

That is quite a different question.

Mr. Janner

Would the hon. and learned Gentleman consider the question of prosecuting these people under the Registration of Business Names Act, in view of the fact that they are trading under a name other than their own? Does he not think that that might possibly stop this type of action?

The Attorney-General

I shall be glad to consider anything which the hon. Gentleman brings to me in detail.