HC Deb 17 June 1954 vol 528 cc2355-87

Amendment made: In page 5, line 16, leave out from "Where," to fourth "the," in line 18, and insert: a tenancy is terminated by the landlord's notice proposing a statutory tenancy."—[The Solicitor-General.]

Sir F. Soskice

I beg to move, in page 5, line 22, to leave out from "defined," to the end of the subsection.

This Amendment raises a point which hon. Members on this side regard as absolutely crucial to the Bill. As you are aware, Mr. Speaker, we have pressed strongly for the insertion of provisions for leasehold enfranchisement and have failed. Having failed in that regard, we say that the least that should be provided is that the security of tenure which the Bill confers upon tenants of ground leases on long lease should be a real and not illusory one. That carries us to the question of the rent which the tenant has to pay when he remains as a statutory tenant after his long lease has come to an end under the provisions of the Bill.

I think it is common ground between hon. Members on both sides that as the Bill stands the rent which would normally have to be fixed by the county court judge is the ordinary market rent. That results from the words which I seek to leave out, read in conjunction with Clause 9 (4), which deals with the fixing of rent and which says, in its material provisions: … the rent determined by the court shall be the rent which, irrespective of the personal circumstances of the parties, in its opinion would be a reasonable rent for the dwelling-house on a letting in that state of repair and on those terms."— that is to say, in the assumed state of repair and on the assumed terms of the continuing statutory letting.

The result of those words is that a county court judge, seeking to interpret the provisions of the Bill, would, in our view and, I understand, in the view of the Home Secretary and the Solicitor-General as well, have to ask himself, "What is the reasonable rent?" He would have to answer himself, "The reasonable rent is what the person could get on the open market with this house on the terms of his lease in the state of repair in which it is assumed to have been at the time of the letting."

How would that impinge on an individual tenant? The tenants we are dealing with are people, as I and my right hon. and hon. Friends have said over and over again, who, in Wales, for example, but in many other parts of the country as well, because not only Wales is concerned, have been paying ground rents of £2 or £5 or £7 a year for many years past, and who have adjusted their personal economies to that liability, accustomed themselves to paying rent on that scale for the houses they think are their own. That comes to an end. Then it behoves the county court judge to fix the rent they are to pay. He fixes the rent and the tenants will suddenly find themselves confronted with a burden of rent of 30s. or £2 or even, perhaps, £2 10s. a week. That is how the Bill works at the moment, and it is common ground that it works in that way.

To say to a tenant who, as I have said—and I cannot repeat it too often; it is so crucial to the understanding of this matter—thinks the house is his own, and who has been accustomed to paying that lower ground rent, "The only terms on which you may go on living in your own house now that, because of an accident of history—because that is what it is—your long lease has come to an end are that you must pay 30s. or 40s. or 50s. a week" is grossly unjust to him. As I have said over and over again, and as my hon. Friends have said, this is giving a security in name which is illusory to a large extent in fact.

Add to that consideration the fact that in most cases the tenant will also be confronted with a very substantial bill for accrued repairs, according to succeeding provisions of the Bill. Assume that one of these tenants is paying a ground rent of £5. At the end of his long lease he is told by the Government he is to have security of tenure. He then asks on what terms. It turns out that the terms are to be a rent not of £5 a year but of 40s. a week and a bill for accrued repairs under Clause 8 of, say, £50 or £100 or £150, or, in the case of old property, £200.

The Government are giving security with one hand and taking it back with the other. We have called that an illusory security. It is spurious security. It means that tenants will be faced with financial burdens they cannot conceivably shoulder. Elderly and retired people, as many of them are, cannot possibly shoulder what in their eyes are enormous financial burdens. Tenants will find that, having thought they were living in their own houses, they are to be turned out, many of them in their old age, and forced to go elsewhere for cheaper accommodation. That is how the Bill works at the moment, and that is a very bad feature of it.

7.45 p.m.

We tried in Committee to improve the Bill in this respect. We first asked if our understanding of it was correct, and the Home Secretary and the Solicitor-General confirmed that it was. We then asked if this would be the kind of consequence, and they were forced to concede that that kind of case would constantly arise. We on this side fear that it will not only constantly arise but that it will be the normal case, that that is what will normally, in general, happen, so that large numbers of these tenants will just have to leave premises which will become far too expensive for them. If that really is the situation which arises from the provisions of the Bill, the Bill becomes somewhat of a mockery, and a particularly cruel mockery, a particularly cruel deceit practised by the Government on these unfortunate tenants who think they are getting something under it.

That, shortly, is the point. I know full well the strength of feeling on this matter that there is among many of my hon. Friends, and I know they will be most anxious, if they are fortunate enough to catch your eye, Sir, to voice their feelings. I hope that we shall have observations in the same strain from the one, two, three Members of the party opposite on the back benches who have found time to join the discussion on this important Bill. If there are any elsewhere in the building, we hope they will participate also. The debate would be greatly enriched. They may be keeping away largely because they feel that if they were to speak in the debate they would be obliged to speak against the Home Secretary. Perhaps that is one of the reasons the benches opposite are so bare when we are discussing this all-important Bill. One can only regret, if that is the reason, that it should be so, and we hope that some will take courage and come in and support justice and right for once.

I have put the point. I do not want to put it again. Doubtless it will be put in other words by hon. Friends of mine and, I hope, by hon. Members opposite, too, but I hope more than anything else that the Home Secretary at long last will realise that if he is really in earnest about doing something for tenants he cannot leave the Bill in this perfectly deplorable state, and will have a change of heart and try to make this Bill come somewhat nearer to conforming to the realities of this case.

Mr. G. Thomas

My right hon. and learned Friend has indicated that we consider this matter to be at the very heart of the Measure. I happened to be in my own constituency one night this week with my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan), addressing a meeting summoned to consider the proposals of the Bill. It was a largely attended meeting, for there are no words that arouse fiercer emotions in Cardiff than the words "leasehold system." The Home Secretary, who has been appealed to by my right hon. and learned Friend, will know, from his constant visits to the Principality, that above all a Welshman values his home. Like the Englishman, he likes to say his home is his castle—till the lease runs out, when it belongs to the ground landlord.

However, even though he loses his house, he asks for a fair deal in the rent that he will have to pay for the house which he himself bought. Normally the length of a lease is 99 years, but in West Wales there are many leases of 50 years' length, and it is possible for people who bought a house within their lifetime to see the house they bought going back to the ground landlord and having to pay rent all over again, as though they had not bought the house at all.

I ask myself how this proposal is to work out in Cardiff. I hope the House will forgive me for referring constantly to Cardiff, but Cardiff suffers so savagely under the present system that it is a perfect example which any hon. Member might quote. I had an example in Canton, Cardiff, of a little shop where the ground rent has been £4 a year. With the lease running out in two years' time, the ground landlords are willing to renew at £350 a year. Thus we have an idea of what rents would be charged, if the ground landlords are willing to charge a ground rent like that in place of a lease on a little shop on the main road of Canton.

I have read with great care the deliberations of the Committee stage, and I understand that in assessing the rent which must be charged to the tenant the county court judge is to assume that the house has been put into a good state of repair. He starts from there. That can well lead to the position that, as the leases of the 30,000 leasehold houses in Cardiff fall in, instead of paying £3 a year ground rent the tenants will pay £3 a week rent under market values of a house assumed to be in good condition. If this Amendment is not carried the finance corporations, who have done nothing to create communal values in Cardiff, will be coming in and stealing our communal wealth for themselves.

There is another aspect which I would bring to the attention of those who are responsible for the Bill. Who will be dealing with the former owner of the house who now becomes the tenant? In nine cases out of 10 the ground lease is owned by some finance corporation. In 1938 the Marquess of Bute sold half of the City of Cardiff to Western Ground Rents. Altogether 20,000 houses were sold, hundreds of public buildings, public houses, and chapels. All sorts of places were sold. We have lost our birthright in Cardiff and we were hoping for a Measure which would restore the homes to the people, not such a proposal as this which makes tighter than ever the grip of the ground landlord upon the little man who bought his own home.

This is a piece of downright dishonesty, legalised or sanctioned by the processes of the law. This is the sort of thing which swept David Lloyd George to this House, fighting bitterly against the injustice which took away the homes from the people. The right hon. and learned Gentleman frequently uses the phrase, "A property-owning democracy." He did not say who would own the property. Now we know; it is Western Ground Rents, Mountjoy Estates and such firms.

The House must forgive me if I speak with some heat on this matter, although it would be hard to find a Welshman who does not become heated when he speaks about it. We have suffered—as Londoners suffer and as they suffer in Lancashire—very severely under these proposals. There is no security of tenure for the working man under these proposals, and unless the Amendment is accepted, only people with a good income will be able to meet both the rents and the cost of repairs which will be saddled on them. Under another Schedule in the Bill, if these terms are not honoured—if the rent is not paid and the cost of repairs is not met—the Government propose to give the ground landlord the right to put these people on the street, as we have seen them put on the street in other days. I earnestly hope that the House will see that the Amendment is carried.

Mr. Eric Fletcher (Islington, East)

I want briefly to support the Amendment. As my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas) said, this problem is not confined to Wales or to any one part of the country. It exists in an acute form in London.

We on these benches attach particular importance to the Amendment and, although it was rejected in Committee, I hope that on this occasion we shall be able to persuade the Home Secretary of its justice. It is widely thought that one of the principal objects of this Bill is to give security of tenure to ground lessees when their leases come to an end. It does nothing of the kind. Unless this Amendment is accepted the grossest deception will be practised on these ground lessees, as they will see when their leases end.

The Bill as it stands not merely does not give security of tenure, but it constitutes the delusion of giving security of tenure without in fact doing so. I have a typical example in my constituency of what is happening today. Mrs. Plant is the owner of a ground lease in the house in which she has been living for a number of years. She is paying the normal ground rent under a ground lease. The lease will expire in a year or so. Already the ground landlords have approached her and asked her to pay a rental of 35s. a week for the house. If the Rent Acts applied, the house would command a rent of something like 15s. to 16s. a week, compared with comparable houses in the neighbourhood, nearly all of which are subject to the Rent Acts. In addition to the rental of 35s. she is being asked by the ground landlords to pay £55 or £60 for repairs. If she does not comply she is threatened with eviction.

If the Bill is passed in its present form that is the position in which she will find herself; the only right she will have will be the right to compete with any other member of the community—to get a tenancy of her own house in which she has lived for years not at a Rent Act controlled rent enjoyed by most others in the borough, but at whatever rent the landlord can persuade any of the thousands of people who are looking for accommodation to pay when there is no controlled rent.

As the Bill stands, there is nothing to prevent the landlord from benefiting from the scarcity value of accommodation which exists all over London today. There is nothing to prevent the court from taking into account the scarcity value if the court has to fix the rent under Clause 9. Unless the Amendment is accepted there will be no real security of tenure at a reasonable rent for the people whom the country thinks this Bill is designed to protect. The present position is intolerable. People have been living in these houses for many years, but when their leases come to an end they are threatened with eviction.

The position of those ground lessees is infinitely worse than that of those who enjoy statutory tenancies, as most people do in the country today. The statutory tenant is protected under the Rent Acts, but these ground lessees not only have no protection under those Acts but when the ground lease comes to an end, they have no protection, but are at their landlord's mercy. They have to negotiate at arms length to try to get a rental for their own house in circumstances in which the Rent Acts do not apply. Because of their inferior bargaining position, because of the scarcity value of all housing accommodation throughout the Metropolis, they are at a great disadvantage. The only way in which that disadvantage can be corrected is by the acceptance of this Amendment.

8.0 p.m.

One of my constituents, a neighbour of the lady about whom I was speaking just now, was recently driven into a mental home because of the worry and anxiety to which she was subjected by the exorbitant demands of the same landlords, and because she feared that in a year or two, when her ground lease expired, she would be without any protection and be out of the house. That sort of thing is happening all over the country. I do not understand how the Home Secretary, who sits there and professes humane, generous sentiments and consideration, can resist the repeated instances which we have given of this kind of tenant. The pressure is enormous. Justice demands that the Amendment should be accepted. In view of the overwhelming number of illustrations which hon. Members on this side of the House can bring before him, I hope that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will accede to our request and accept the Amendment.

Mr. Hay

I think that hon. Members opposite are rather overstating the case here. What the Bill proposes is a scheme of protection for the tenant who would otherwise be evicted from the house. That was the recommendation of the Leasehold Committee. It is a practical method of dealing with what everybody accepts to be a difficult problem, and I do not think that any useful purpose is served by trying to say that individual people are to be put in a great deal of financial difficulty because they will no longer have to pay a ground rent of £5 or £7 but a fair contemporary market rent for the premises.

Mr. Hale

I hope that the hon. Member will forgive me for intervening but my doing so might simplify and shorten matters. It is not even a fair contemporary market rent but a fair contemporary market rent for the premises, valued at 1954 prices for a house built in 1855. The judge has to be asked to assume that the house is in full repair and that these onerous conditions have been fully complied with. Then there is to be put on the tenant a statutory cost of repairs and the landlord is to be given the right to apply and say that the repairs are not sufficient to obviate the landlord doing something, and the position is to be left that new housing and rent Acts can still apply, and increases may result from that. The judge is to be asked to fix a figure which is a contemporary assessment, and the wretched tenant is to be forced to go to the court and to pay costs—

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Rhys Hopkin Morris)

The hon. Member must not develop an intervention into a speech.

Mr. Hale

I was not thinking of doing so, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. I may seek to catch your eye later to do that. I have not got it clear in my mind, I admit, what is to happen about the arrears of rent. It will take months for these things to be assessed, and the wretched tenant, after nine or 10 months of anxiety, may be confronted with a bill of several hundred pounds for arrears as well.

Mr. Hay

I have no doubt that if the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale) catches your eye, Mr. Deputy- Speaker, he will develop at some length the points he has been making.

The point I was making was that I think hon. Members are deluding themselves and the public if they really think that any county court judge, faced with the task which this Bill will impose upon him to fix a rent for this sort of premises, will have regard to scarcity values and all the other points which have been developed in the speeches which we have heard on this Amendment. I think it was the hon. Member for Oldham, West himself who said earlier that county court judges are bound to deal with these matters reasonably, as ordinary sensible people—

Mr. Glenvil Hall


Mr. Hay

I have already been interrupted once, and I should like to finish my sentence before giving way again. I think that the county court judge, faced with the task of deciding what would be a fair rent for premises of this kind, will apply his mind reasonably and will not apply scarcity values.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

I am obliged to the hon. Member for giving way. The point of my intervention is germane to what he is saying. I have followed what he has said, but is he not forgetting that the Bill lays down the sort of consideration which the judge must take into account, which must, as I understand it, be market value, which must take into account scarcity value which exists.

Mr. Hay

The right hon. Gentleman is perfectly correct; the Bill prescribes market value, but different people may have different ideas of what may be market value. If I am wrong, no doubt I shall be corrected. The whole basis of assessment in this Bill is that it will be left to the discretion of the county court judge if the parties cannot agree.

The Bill places a premium on the parties agreeing, to begin with. It is just as much to the advantage of a landlord not to have to be taken to the county court, with all the attendant expense, as it is to the tenant not to have to go to a county court. So there is a premium on agreement.

Let us take this further fact into consideration. The hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. E. Fletcher) and the right hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Glenvil Hall) spoke of scarcity values, but there is less scarcity value today in housing than there was. As we build more and more houses so—one is assuming that the Housing Repairs and Rents Bill will have its full effect—we shall be gradually overcoming the scarcity of houses. I believe that the factor of scarcity values will in a short time become a less and less important matter to be taken into that calculation.

What is the alternative if we do not have a scheme such as that proposed by the Bill? If nothing is done and leases are allowed to come to an end the tenants evicted will have to go elsewhere; they will become a charge on the local authority who will have to find housing accommodation for them. In that case those people will certainly have to pay much more than the £5 or £7 which they have been paying under their ground leases so they will equally encounter that financial hardship which I believe has been overstressed in the debate on this Amendment.

Similarly, if those people manage to find a rent-restricted house they will have to pay much more than £5 or £7 a year. I suggest that it is gravely overstating the case to pretend that the very reasonable proposal of the Government, put forward not with an eye to abstract justice but to provide something that will work, is the best one that could be devised in the very difficult circumstances of this case. I suggest that the Amendment should not be pressed and that hon. Members should realise that there is far more in this matter than the mere recital of a few cases of individual hardship. No doubt there are a great many deserving cases, but one must look at the matter from the strictly practical point of view of what the country can do to help those people who are undoubtedly in a difficult situation which is largely not of their making.

Mr. Iorwerth Thomas (Rhondda, West)

The Government's rent proposals are similar to their decisions on other matters which are contained in this Bill. Their attitude to the Bill as a whole has been determined and based upon misconceptions as to the extent of the problem. I believe that the Home Secretary will agree that when discussions on this Bill began on Second Reading and in Committee the assumption was that the problem was really non-existent.

I hope that Members opposite will pardon me for referring once more, as was done in the Committee from time to time, to the much quoted paragraph 61 of the Leasehold Committee's Report. Both right hon. and learned Gentlemen opposite have on several occasions, first on Second Reading and secondly during the Committee stage, excused their inactivity in this matter on the ground that the problem did not exist or that, if it did, it was a problem so insignificant in character and size that no special legislation was required to deal with it.

I hope that in the light of the new facts that have become available, the Minister and his right hon. and learned Friend appreciate and admit that it is their duty to withdraw the Bill in its present form and to introduce other legislation based on the rent Clauses.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

I think that the hon. Member is traversing too wide a field at the moment. We are not dealing with the Bill, but with an Amendment to the Clause.

Mr. Thomas

The substance to which I am referring is the same, although perhaps the terminology is different. The Minister and his right hon. and learned Friend have repeatedly said that the problem does not exist because the majority of the people, particularly in Wales, which is the storm centre of this matter, are occupying houses as ordinary tenants. That is what was said during the Committee stage and what is repeatedly being said by the right hon. and learned Gentlemen opposite.

What are the facts? I want the Minister to apply his mind judicially in regard to this Clause because, by experience, he has allowed his mind to be influenced by the facts. The right hon. and learned Gentleman has at his disposal the knowledge that the Majority Report of the leasehold Committee was based on the assumption that this problem did not exist. I cannot understand why the information which I disclosed partly during the Committee stage, and to which I will add this evening, was not before the Committee. The Minister has assumed that the Committee had all the available information before it, but obviously it did not.

Let us take the problem as it now exists. I have been able to collect information from only 31 of the many local authorities in South Wales concerning people who occupy houses which they own, or, at least, which they believe they own. For all practical purposes, we always define them as owner-occupiers, but this Clause indicates to these people that they are not the owners. In South Wales alone, some 124,000 houses will be affected by this Clause. We have to consider what will be the effect on these owner-occupiers. What is their position going to be as compared with the other tenancies?

8.15 p.m.

As several of my hon. Friends have indicated, it is proposed on the expiration of their leases to convert these people into statutory tenants. Instead of paying £1 a year for living in their own house, which may be valued at £1,000, they will, as a result of this Clause and having regard to the facts which the county court judge will take into consideration, have to pay an annual rent of £60 or £70 a year, and that after they have borne the cost of the initial repairs to put their house into a good condition.

Do not the right hon. Gentlemen opposite think that these people who by their labours, their sacrifice and their self-denial have become the owners of these properties, are entitled to better treatment? These properties are now to be taken away from them, and they may be charged a rent of £60 to £70 a year instead of the £1 a year which they have paid hitherto.

Why does the Minister insist that the rent of these properties shall be determined by the existing market value? Why did he say in the speeches he made during the Committee stage that the county court judge would have to examine and assess the trends in the respective localities? The reason is that he assumes that the majority of the ground freeholds have been bought by what is termed the intermediary landlord. He regards it as fair and just that these properties should be valued on an open market value in order to compensate the ground landlord who bought them in expectation of early possession in order to get a fairly quick return on their investments.

It is deliberately argued that the speculative type of landlord went about the community on the look out for properties that were early coming to the point of expiration so that he could get possession of them and cash in. Let us argue strictly commercially or legally that there may be some commercial or legal value in that way. But the majority of the landlords in South Wales are really the original landlords who owned the houses when they were first built. Therefore, is it fair that the ground landlords who were in possession 50, 60, 70 or 80 years ago, and in fact when the houses were built, should be entitled to have this type of free market rent assessed on their properties? They have not invested a penny piece. They are not in the position of the speculative type of landlord. The speculative type of landlord has probably invested £400 or £500 in certain properties, and it may be argued that in the circumstances he is entitled to a return. But we have no right to treat in the same terms the ground landlord who has never spent a penny on the properties that he is taking over.

I ask the Minister to accept these figures which I have quoted, namely that 124,000 people in South Wales own their own properties. I can give typical examples of a few towns. Take Llanelly, a typical little Welsh town in an industrial valley. Out of a total of 8,911 houses in Llanelly, 4,900 are owned by the people who live in them. Take poor poverty-stricken Merthyr Tydvil as an example. Despite the history of that town, out of a total of 17,000 houses 4,000 are owned by the people who live in them. In Barry 33 per cent. of the people live in their own houses. Take salubrious Porthcawl on the coastline, where 60 per cent. of the people live in their own houses. In Newport, out of a total of 25,000 houses 8,000 are occupied by people who own them theoretically.

I desire the Home Secretary and the Solicitor-General not to be so much influenced by the consideration of giving a fair return and doing justice to the speculative type of landlord who has come in and bought these properties before the expiration of the leases, but to give consideration to the people who are now being transformed by this Bill into statutory tenants. Having regard to their sacrifice and effort in the past, they should have some just reward and compensation, and the rents of their houses should not be left to the mercy of the trends of an open market, but should be subject to a more equitable assessment by the provisions of the law.

The Solicitor-General

We have had a debate which I am sure is very familiar to those hon. Members who were present during the Committee stage. Indeed, the right hon. and learned Member for Neepsend (Sir F. Soskice) emphasised more than once that the things that he was saying had already been said over and over again. Listening to this debate, I was able to reflect on the greater facility, fluency and charm that the speeches had gained—I will not say by repetition—and I can only hope that my reply to those speeches will equally have improved.

The point raised here is the question of the rent of the statutory tenancies under this Bill. The point has been used to develop the familiar arguments on leasehold enfranchisement, and I think that hon. Members in all quarters of the House are very familiar with both sides of that case. I do not want to say very much about that tonight, because I am sure that I should weary hon. Members opposite, but I should like to deal with one or two of the points which were made by hon. Members opposite.

The right hon. and learned Member for Neepsend said that the ground lessees of these houses were morally right in regarding the houses as theirs. The hon. Member for Rhondda, West (Mr. Iorwerth Thomas) referred to them as the owner-occupiers. We can agree or disagree about moral rights, but I would ask the House to bear in mind that by this Bill we are seeking to effect a change in the legal rights now held by ground lessees. Apart from the provisions of the Leasehold (Temporary Provisions) Act, the position is—and it must not be forgotten—that the ground lessee, whatever may be his moral rights—and we need not argue about that, because it does not bear upon the point—has no legal right to remain in possession on the date of the termination of his lease.

Mr. Janner


The Solicitor-General

I would prefer not to give way at the moment. The hon. Gentleman can follow me if he wishes, or I will give way later on, but I am trying to put forward a logical argument and I shall be able to put it forward much more shortly if the hon. Gentleman does not interrupt.

Mr. Janner

The right hon. and learned Gentleman may have much more to explain if I do not interrupt.

The Solicitor-General

I shall be perfectly willing to give way later on. I know that the hon. Gentleman feels very strongly on these matters. Many hon. Members do on both sides of the House. There are different views on this matter, as there are on so many things.

I am trying to bring the attention of the House back to the legal position under the law before the Leasehold (Temporary Provisions) Act was introduced. Whatever may be the moral rights, there can be no dispute that when the ground lease came to an end the ground lessee had no legal right to remain in possession. The right hon. and learned Member for Neepsend seeks to attack this Bill. He called it a cruel mockery because under this Measure we are seeking to give to ground lessees a legal right to remain in possession.

Mr. Janner


The Solicitor-General

The hon. Gentleman says "Nonsense"—

Mr. Janner

It is nonsense.

The Solicitor-General

—and he is quite at liberty to think so, but if he applies his mind to this Bill I think he will find that it is nonsense on his part to say that there is no legal right.

Mr. Janner

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman give way now? Will he tell the House why he is harping on the question of legal rights when in another Bill which he is introducing he and the Government are stating that agreements can be superseded by imposing higher rentals even when the agreements exist for a lower rental? How can he use this argument now?

The Solicitor-General

I can use this argument now, and the hon. Gentleman will appreciate why I am using it if he will only listen. It may be a rather rare experience—

Dr. H. Morgan (Warrington)

Do not be rude.

The Solicitor-General

I am only saying that the position before the Leasehold (Temporary Provisions) Act was this, that the right of a ground lessee to remain in possession was entirely nonexistent. Under this Bill a legal right to remain in possession is given, and whether it is sufficient or not, we can disagree upon it, but I should not have thought that we would disagree about it. It is from that premise that our argument continues.

8.30 p.m.

There are two things the ground lessee is given. One is the legal right, and the other is that he is relieved—and maybe to a very considerable extent—of the burden of liability for repairs which normally rests on his shoulders at the end of the lease. This Bill takes a great deal of that burden away from him.

When the right hon. and learned Gentleman was moving this Amendment, he referred not only to the rent, but to the accrued repairs as if a repair obligation imposed by this Bill was something in excess of the obligation resting upon the tenant under a ground lease. That, of course, is erroneous.

Sir F. Soskice


The Solicitor-General

The right hon. and learned Gentleman, when he reads the speech which he delivered, will see that he did suggest it. I should be glad if I had misunderstood him, but I think what I have stated is correct. After talking about the high market rent, he went on to talk about the accrued repairs and what a heavy burden they imposed upon the tenant. But the burden for liability for repairs is there under the ground lease and this Bill gives some relief from that load, so that quite clearly the tenant is here getting two things, some degree of security—we may differ as to how extensive it is—and some degree of relief.

The question raised by this Amendment is what rent should a tenant pay in future for premises which he has under permanent legislation no legal right to occupy after the date of the expiry of the tenancy. In Committee we have fully debated this question of what rent should be paid, and I need only say that we have carefully weighed the arguments that have been advanced, and we have come to the conclusion that the fair thing to do is to provide that the rent should be based upon the market value.

Dr. Morgan

The market value of what, the house and the land or the house alone?

The Solicitor-General

On the market value of the property that is being rented.

We have taken as a test the Landlord and Tenant (Rent Control) Act, 1949, to the extent that it provides a protection from the charging of an extortionate rent. There is a great deal of force in the arguments advanced by my hon. Friend the Member for Henley (Mr. Hay), because, if we consider what rent should be paid for this property, we have properly to contrast not the rent which the tenant was paying before his ground lease ended but the rent he would have to pay to secure other premises at the end of his ground lease.

We believe the situation is best met by the provision of a fair market value coupled with the deprivation of the landlord's right to possession, coupled with giving a tenant relief from some part of the burden of liability for repairs, and that means depriving the landlord of some part of his right about repairs. Looking at it not only from the point of view of the interests of the tenant but also from the point of view of the landlord, we say that the fair provision is to provide that the rent should be as is stated in the Bill.

Mr. Janner

I hope that the Solicitor-General will try to direct his mind to a few principles that prevail in law. If somebody enters into a contract under force and signs that contract, he is not liable, because he was a party to something over which he had not complete control at the time he entered into his agreement.

If the right hon. and learned Gentleman will take that simple proposition one step further with regard to what we are talking about, he will realise that a serious position arose at the time when these leaseholds were granted since, because people were compelled by circumstances, they were forced by landlords who had useless land to enter into a contract which was unconscionable. That is the position, and if we in Parliament have any duty imposed upon us at all, it is to protect the public against unconscionable actions of that kind. The fact that this has not been done for many years does not mean that, when we come to consider the situation now, we are not entitled to say it shall not happen again.

It may be that it was not such an acute position before. However, I want to draw the attention of the Home Secretary, who is also Minister for Welsh Affairs, to the fact that the position has become serious. Town after town is finding that its housing list and the homes of its people are becoming the possession not of the people who made the homes, who not only used bricks for building them but used a home influence in order to build the character of the people living in those homes. It is part and parcel of the existence of all towns, but particularly of towns in Wales, that the character of a place depends upon the fact that people utilise their homes for the purpose of having family lives. Consequently we have developed in these towns a type of character and life which will be destroyed entirely unless we protect it against the type of contract that was entered into 50 or 100 years ago—

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Rhys Hopkin Morris)

This may be important but it is well beyond the, scope of the Amendment.

Mr. Janner

Naturally I bow to your Ruling, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, but I want to direct the attention of the House to the fact that we are dealing with the question of what rental is to be imposed when this Bill becomes law. We cannot do that in a vacuum. We have to consider what we are dealing with. At the present moment we are dealing, not with a rented house in the ordinary sense, but with a home in respect of which we are to charge a rental, and whether that is justified and reasonable, and whether we as the Parliament of this country, watching the interests of the nation as a whole, are entitled to continue a wrong which has been a serious one and which now becomes a concrete one.

Therefore, I appeal to hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite to appreciate the reason why this application for a different type of approach is being made. It is not our job as a Parliament to allow injustice to be done. If we are to attempt to give some kind of justice to a tenant who is a lessee holding a long lease, we cannot do it in this way. We must be reasonable and do something to show that that person's position is being considered and that the violence that was done to moral duty at the time that the lease was granted should not be perpetuated.

Let us not make it impossible for that person to continue the tenancy and let us not say that we are granting security when this is a mere lip-service to security. The Government should give the security by enabling the tenants to continue in possession at a rental which would not be the rent charged if the original injustice had not been done to them. We are not asking for anything that is in the slightest out of the way. On the contrary, we are being very reasonable indeed in our request.

Mr. F. H. Hayman (Falmouth and Camborne)

I remind the House that Cornwall was once known as West Wales and that today we in Cornwall have very much in common with the Welsh people. One of the things we have most in common with them is the desire to own the freehold of our houses. If it is said that we are trying to change legal rights, that may be so, but what we are really trying to establish is what Celtic people believe to be moral rights in relation to property. David Lloyd George was swept into the House of Commons on a tide of indignation on this subject, and 40 years ago seven Liberal Members were returned for Cornwall on this issue. among others.

The fact which has been overlooked hitherto is that in the last century in my county it was the practice for rich landlords to insist upon long tenancies when their tenant people wanted to build houses. In recent years they have been shamed into selling the freehold. If the Government place this Bill on the Statute Book it will be very difficult for the small man anywhere to buy the freehold of the property upon which he wants to build a house. For the party opposite to talk about a property-owning democracy is just so much humbug.

8.45 p.m.

Mr. Weitzman

I know the Home Secretary is a person who would not be ready to allow an injustice to be suffered if he recognised that injustice. I would therefore like to add a few words by way of additional plea to what has been said by my hon. Friends.

I listened very carefully to the argument of the Solicitor-General to see what justification there was for the Government opposing this Amendment. As I understood it. his objection was this. He said that legally the owner of a house under a lease paying ground rent has no legal right to remain and could be turned out at the end of the period. We know that that is true in law, but there is not a single person who does not recognise what an unfair position that is. Even the Government recognise the unfairness of it, because they have brought forward certain proposals, which we say are not sufficient.

We start on the basis that this is not, in a way, a party matter, for hon. Members on all sides of the House recognise that the position of a lessee when his lease comes to an end is a deplorable one and that something has to be done to remedy the position. A great deal has been said about conditions in South Wales and other parts of Wales. I have no doubt that the problem is acute there, but it should not be thought that the problem is limited to Wales; the problem exists all over the country. In my constituency—a very important part, and probably the most important part of London—the Finsbury Park area contains hundreds of houses held by tenants on ground leases. Many of those tenants have approached me and many of them have leases which are coming to an end. They are faced with a terrible problem. What are they to do?

A typical case is of a tenant who has invested his or her life savings in buying the ground lease of a house. The person pays £10 a year ground rent. Part of the house is sublet and, under the terms of this Bill—the Knightsbridge case having gone—the sub-tenant is allowed to remain there at a controlled rent of probably a few shillings a week. But what happens to the ground lessee? What is his position in the payment of rent? He used to pay £10 a year ground rent. Now, if he does not agree with his landlord on his rental, he has to go to the county court judge who must apply the provisions of Clause 9 (4) to fix the terms of the rent.

If we examine the provisions of that Clause we find that it must inevitably mean that the county court judge has to fix the rent according to the market value and, indeed, according to the scarcity value. The result in the case of the house in my constituency would be that the tenant would have to pay a rental of £150 or £200 a year—15 or 20 times as much as he paid before. It does not stop there. Under the provisions of the Bill he has to pay for repairs.

The Solicitor-General said that the tenant was liable under the terms of his lease for repairs to the house and therefore he ought to pay for dilapidations. We all know what monstrous provisions those terms are and how they mount up after a year. Just think what it means. At the end of the period, to put the premises, not into the state of repair required by the lease, but into the state required under the terms of this Bill, a tenant may well be faced with a bill of something in the region of £200, £300, £400, £500, or more. Those are the initial repairs. The tenant is then given the right to remain as a statutory controlled tenant in the premises in which he has lived for years paying £10 a year ground rent and he has to pay to his landlord £200 a year rent and £500 a year for initial repairs. What an enormous burden that must be to him.

Hon. Members may reduce the figures a little if they wish, but I am certain that the figures which I have given are accurate in regard to the case I have mentioned. The security given to a tenant under those circumstances is undoubtedly illusory, Such a tenant may be a working man or a member of the middle classes, but whatever his income, how can he possibly afford to remain in the premises when paying that rent and also paying by instalments for the initial repairs? Surely this is a monstrous injustice.

I suggest that this should not be a party matter. Everyone recognises that something must be done, and we are concerned about the measure of relief and what should be done in order to remedy what is a recognised grievance. I think that if the Home Secretary, with his ideas of justice, looks at the case in that way, whatever views he may have about landlords and their rights surely will realise that it is a monstrous injustice that under this Bill tenants are given a security which is not a security at all. When we compare the amount which a tenant has to pay with the amount his sub-tenant will have to pay it is obvious that an injustice is being done. I ask that the Government should look at the matter again and recognise that our pleas are well-founded and that this is a real case where something should be done to remedy an injustice.

Mr. Arthur Skeffington (Hayes and Harlington)

I do not wish to detain the House, but I think it right on a matter which all hon. Members on this side of the House regard as one of important principle, that one should voice one's plea even though it may take time. This is almost the last opportunity for hon. Members, at any rate in this place, to try to get the Government to change their minds.

Having listened to the defence of the Solicitor-General, I still believe that my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Neepsend (Sir F. Soskice) was correct in describing the Clause as now drafted as a cruel mockery. It is a cruel mockery, because a great many people have been led to believe that, although they would not be allowed to purchase the freehold of a house which they themselves had built—or their relatives had built or bought—at any rate they would have the opportunity of staying on with the full protection of the Rent Acts. What they find, of course, is that the protection of the Rent Acts goes some way only so far as security is concerned, and even that is hedged about with a number of difficulties for them, and in favour of the landlord.

Financial protection is completely denied to them under the terms of this Clause. There is no rent protection. In fact, this Clause is an addition to decontrol for a considerable number of houses, because once the statutory tenancy finishes there will be no form of rent control at all over these properties. I think that it would have been better and more honest if the Government had admitted that, instead of, as I think, misleading a great many people into the belief that they would be statutory tenants and fully protected.

It will be a cruel injustice to tenants if they find that not only do they not get protection, but also that at the end of their lease they will be forced out of the premises by the burden of the economic rent and the other factors which will impose so much financial liability upon them. One must consider this Amendment and this Clause in connection with that dealing with repairs. The repairs, are to be paid for by the tenants under this Bill, which we consider is unfair and unjust. On top of the open market rent, there is to be the weekly or monthly instalments for repairs. This will be a crushing burden.

Examples have been given. I give two further examples from a different area in London which shows what this double payment will mean. One, in Sutherland Avenue, Maida Vale, is an example where the ground rent had been £9 a year and it was converted on the end of the lease into a rack rent of £108 a year. The other was in Adelaide Road, Hampstead, where there was a ground rent of £4 per annum which was turned into a rack rent of £180 a year.

The hon. Member for Henley (Mr. Hay) said that we could not expect the rents to remain as they were when the agreements were originally entered into. If he had read the OFFICIAL REPORT of our proceedings in Committee upstairs, he would have noted that we did not suggest that. We said that there must be some advance. We suggested various alternative proposals which would have put some ceiling upon the rent. We suggested various ways limited in some instances to the rateable value and in some cases to a figure midway between what the ground rent was and what the standard rent is.

On all these Amendments we were defeated on every occasion by the massed ranks of the Government supporters who came in from coffee outside the Committee room as soon as a Division was called. Having failed to get, in certain conditions, the right for leaseholders to purchase the property which they built or bought and have maintained, it was our duty to see that if they stay on they do so on conditions which do not make the offer of a statutory tenancy a mockery and a fraud. We must come to the conclusion that an open market rent plus the repairs payments which, inevitably, are bound to be heavy, means that many tenants will not be able to stay on under the provisions of the Bill, and that makes a mockery of that alleged protection. The ground landlord will obtain possession of the premises, when the statutory tenancy normally ends by death or after transfer in any event. But in the meantime these financial provisions make the so-called protection of the tenant quite illusory.

Even at this stage I ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman to have another look at the question. I am unable to understand the attitude of the Home Secretary. In Standing Committee he said: … I think it would 'be wrong to deal the landlord a double blow"… The tenant is to be dealt a double blow; he is to pay an increased rent and also to pay for repairs— to deprive him of the right of vacant possession and also limit the rent…"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee D, 16th March, 1954; c. 165.] Why on earth should the landlord have vacant possession? It is not his house. He never built it or bought it. I noticed that when my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas) was talking about the Welshman's castle, he said that it was going back to the ground landlord. It is not going back to the ground landlord because the ground landlord has never had it, though he is to get it under the Bill.

The right hon. and learned Gentleman says that it would be wrong to deprive the landlord of the right of vacant possession and also to limit the rent. The landlord will get possession. This Bill merely puts off the period of time before the ground landlord will get possession. Surely, in the national interest it would be worth while to place some limit upon the rent other than the open market condition. Otherwise, it is only too true to say that the description of my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Neepsend is correct and that this portion of the Bill is a cruel mockery. We appeal to the Government to have another look at this injustice.

9.0 p.m.

Mr. C. Hughes

In his speech the Solicitor-General talked of legal rights and moral rights. He then suggested that we should leave the moral rights and went on to define the legal rights of the tenants. That is symptomatic of the attitude of the Government towards the entire leasehold problem. They disregard the rights of the tenant and have a careful regard for what they believe to be the rights and interests of the landlord. We look at this entire problem believing that the tenant has an incontrovertible moral right to the premises, and we cannot see it from any other angle.

I hope the House will see fit to accept the Amendment, because the Clause, as it stands, shows a callous disregard for the interests of the ordinary tenant in Great Britain today. In passing, may I say that it is disgraceful that when we are discussing a matter of such importance to the nation the Government Benches should be so empty. Perhaps it is due not so much to indifference as to shame. I can only hope that the electorate will in due course be informed of the attitude of hon. Members opposite towards the Bill.

From time to time the spokesmen of the Government have said that the Bill gives the tenant "a square deal." It does no such thing. All this talk about giving security of tenure to the tenant is bluff. The security of tenure given by the Bill is tenuous and emasculated and a complete sham.

For example, the provisions about rents, which we seek to improve through this Amendment, are unconscionably harsh upon the tenant. Take an ordinary street of houses. The houses on one side may be subject to the Rent Acts, the tenants paying anything from 10s. to 15s. per week, while the houses on the other side may be subject to the provisions of this Bill, the tenants paying four, five, six or even 10 times as much as the other tenants. This Clause will create a new category of rents. We already have the houses which are subject to the Rent Acts. We shall now have the houses which are subject to this Bill, upon which a far higher rent will be levied.

There is a great deal of talk about wage restraint these days. We have looked at the rent question from the position of the tenant and said that the rent will probably be exorbitant. Let us look at it from the standpoint of the landlord. What will the landlord get out of it? What will big, inhuman, combines like the Western Ground Rents get out of it? In Committee I cited a case brought to my notice by my hon. Friend the Member for Pembroke (Mr. Donnelly). It concerned 1,730 houses at Pembroke Dock owned by a landlord named Sir Thomas Meyrick. My information is that the original income from the houses, on the basis of a ground rent of £3, was £5,190 per annum. Some years ago the ground rent was raised to about £20 per house, which brought this man's income to £34,000 per annum. What will be the position of that particular landlord under the Bill when it becomes law?

My hon. Friend has gone into this matter very carefully, and, as I understand it, the position will be this. This landlord will have his income from these houses increased from £34,000 per annum to £100,000 per annum. This is only one case, and yet the Solicitor-General talks about legal definitions, disregarding moral rights, and this at a period when we are supposed to be passing through a serious economic crisis and when trade unions and workers are being asked to practise restraint in relation to wages. Yet the Government can put through the House of Commons a Bill by means of which one individual will have his income from these houses raised from £34,000 to £100,000 per annum. Is this the way to reduce the cost of living?

This is really a serious situation. This is not an ordinary minor issue; it is a national issue with which we are dealing. I appeal to the Home Secretary, who is a Minister of the highest integrity, even at this late stage of the Bill's progress to reconsider the matter, because unless he does so these provisions, particularly with regard to rents, will create further economic instability for the ordinary people of this country.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

The House must be fully aware by now of the very great importance which we attach to this Amendment. To us it is one of the most important, if not the most important, now that others have been ruled out of order, that we have on the Order Paper. I do not know whether it is any use my adding my voice to what has already been said so eloquently by so many of my hon. and right hon. Friends on this side, but I, like them, find it very difficult to understand the attitude of the Home Secretary.

In many directions we have a great admiration for him, and we realise that he is a Minister of the very highest integrity. I cannot help feeling that, as speaker after speaker from this side of the House put the case for this Amendment, the right hon. and learned Gentleman must have felt very unhappy. No doubt, he may feel himself to be the prisoner of his own party's policy, but I should like to think that, for once in a way, he would rise above the views of the ordinary back benchers on the other side and do something for so many hundreds of thousands of people who will undoubtedly suffer if this Bill becomes an Act as it is now worded.

The hon. Member for Henley (Mr. Hay), who was the only hon. Member who spoke from the other side of the House, took the view that this Bill did something for the leaseholder whose lease was coming to an end, but no one has denied that fact. What we on this side of the House say is that a very large number of them, and probably a majority of them, will find that the so-called benefit coming to them from this Bill will be largely illusory. The whole core of the problem from their point of view is what rent they will be called upon to pay when their leases come to an end.

It is all very well to say that in this Bill we give the residential tenants under Part I security of tenure, but that security is for many completely illusory unless such tenants are financially able to stay on in the house which either they themselves or, more likely, their forebears built, and which they in all likelihood have improved by putting in electricity and probably a bathroom as well. These improvements will be counted by the county court judge, not in their favour in order to reduce the rent, but against them in order to put it up. That is quite wrong. The procedures which lay down how the county court judge is to come to his decision about the rent to be charged are unfair and bear extremely heavily on the tenant.

Therefore, we beg the Home Secretary to realise that it is no use passing this Bill unless it effects what it sets out to do. I believe that in his heart he wants to help those people who, under the present unjust leasehold system, are likely to lose their property. I believe that the right hon. and learned Gentleman is anxious to give them security of tenure. We do not suggest that the tenants should stay on at the present ground rent. There should obviously be some increase, but the market value basis suggested here, plus an additional amount for repairs, will make it impossible for very many hundreds of tenants to stay on in houses which up till now they have thought were theirs. Therefore, when my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Neepsend (Sir F. Soskice) said that Part I of the Bill was a cruel mockery, he said what was true.

At this late stage we ask the Home Secretary to get up and say that in the drafting of the provisions the Government have gone much too far. The Bill will not help people to remain on in properties in which they have spent their lives and hope to finish their days. Quite the reverse. Let him say that the provisions which fix the rent will be made to accord more with the facts of the situation. Clause 9 lays down that not only have various considerations to be taken into account in fixing the rent but that the county court judge shall also fix the rent irrespective of the personal circumstances

of the parties. That is a direct invitation to him not to take account of the surrounding circumstances which the Solicitor-General, and on occasion even the Home Secretary himself, have told us will be taken into consideration.

I am sure that my hon. and right hon. Friends expect, in view of the weight of evidence that has been placed before the House, that the Home Secretary will not sit there silently on the Government Front Bench, as he has been sitting there most of the evening, but that he will get up and, in spite of the policy of his party, will say that what he has heard has convinced him that the evidence is overwhelming that something should be done to alter these provisions in the Bill so that those who are now in possession of premises and hope to continue to live there shall find that the rents which the county court fixes shall be such as they can afford. I appeal, therefore, to the Home Secretary, for unless we get an assurance from him, we shall have to press this Amendment to a Division.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 208: Noes, 194.

Division No. 154.] AYES [9.15 p.m
Aitken, W. T. Conant, Maj. Sir Roger Hare, Hon. J. H.
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Cooper-Key, E. M. Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)
Alport, C. J. M. Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Harris, Reader (Heston)
Amory, Rt. Hon. Heathcoat (Tiverton) Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)
Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J. Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)
Arbuthnot, John Crouch, R. F. Harvie-Watt, Sir George
Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.) Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood) Hay, John
Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M. Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.) Heath, Edward
Baldwin, A. E. Deedes, W. F. Higgs, J. M. C.
Barlow, Sir John Digby, S. Wingfield Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)
Baxter, Sir Beverley Dodds-Parker, A. D. Hirst, Geoffrey
Beach, Maj. Hicks Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Holland-Martin, C. J.
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Doughty, C. J. A. Hope, Lord John
Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) Drewe, Sir C. Hopkinson, Rt. Hon. Henry
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.
Birch, Nigel Duthie, W. S. Horobin, I. M.
Bishop, F. P. Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West) Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)
Black, C. W. Finlay, Graeme Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)
Bossom, Sir A. C. Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F. Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)
Boyle, Sir Edward Fletcher-Cooke, C. Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.
Braine, B. R. Ford, Mrs. Patricia Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'rgh, W.)
Braithwaite, Sir Gurney Fort, R. Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.
Brooke, Henry (Hampstead) Foster, John Iremonger, T. L.
Browne, Jack (Govan) Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale) Johnson, Eric (Blackley)
Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T. Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)
Bullard, D. G. Garner-Evans, E. H. Jones, A. (Hall Green)
Bullus, Wing Commander E. E. George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd Kerby, Capt. H. B.
Burden, F. F. A. Glover, D. Kerr, H. W.
Butcher, Sir Herbert Godber, J. B. Lambert, Hon. G.
Campbell, Sir David Gough, C. F. H. Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.
Cary, Sir Robert Gower, H. R. Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)
Channon, H. Graham, Sir Fergus Lindsay, Martin
Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead) Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans) Linstead, Sir H. N.
Cole, Norman Grimstan, Sir Robert (Westbury) Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.
Colegate, W. A. Hall, John (Wycombe) Low, A. R. W.
Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.) Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D. Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)
Lucas, P. B. (Brentford) Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.) Storey, S.
McCallum, Major D. Osborne, C. Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)
McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S Page, R. G Studholme, H. G.
Macdonald, Sir Peter Perkins, Sir Robert Summers, G. S.
Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry Peto, Brig. C. H. M. Sutcliffe, Sir Harold
McKibbin, A. J. Pilkington, Capt. R. A. Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Mackie, J. H. (Galloway) Pitt, Miss E. M Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Powell, J. Enoch Teeling, W.
Macleod, Rt. Hon. lain (Enfield, W.) Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty) Profumo, J. D. Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)
Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley) Raikes, Sir Victor Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries) Redmayne, M. Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W)
Maitland, Patrick (Lanark) Rees-Davies, W. R. Tilney, John
Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir Reginald Remnant, Hon. P Touche, Sir Gordon
Markham, Major Sir Frank Renton, D. L. M. Turner, H. F. L.
Marlowe, A. A. H. Ridsdale, J. E. Turton, R. H.
Marples, A. E. Roberts, Peter (Heeley) Vane, W. M. F.
Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin) Robson-Brown, W. Vaughan-Morgan, J. K
Maude, Angus Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks) Walker-Smith, D. C.
Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C. Roper, Sir Harold Wall, Major Patrick
Medlicott, Brig. F. Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)
Mellor, Sir John Schofield, Lt.-Col. W. Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)
Molson, A. H. E. Scott, R. Donald Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.
Moore, Sir Thomas Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R. Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)
Morrison, John (Salisbury) Shepherd, William Wellwood, W.
Nabarro, G. D. N. Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.) Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)
Neave, Airey Smithers, Peter (Winchester) Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Nicholls, Harmar Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington) Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)
Nield, Basil (Chester) Snadden, W. McN. Wills, G.
Noble, Comdr. A. H. P Soames, Capt. C. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Nugent, G. R. H. Spearman, A. C. M. Wood, Hon. R.
Oakshott, H. D. Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)
O'Neill, Hon. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.) Spens, Rt. Hon. Sir P. (Kensington, S.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Mr. Vosper and Mr. Kaberry
Adams, Richard Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.) Lee, Frederick (Newton)
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe). Follick, M. Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)
Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven) Foot, M. M. Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)
Bacon, Miss Alice Freeman, John (Watford) Lewis, Arthur
Baird, J. Freeman, Peter (Newport) Lindgren, G. S.
Bartley, P. Gibson, C. W. Logan, D. G.
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. MacColl, J. E.
Bence, C. R. Greenwood, Anthony McKay, John (Wallsend)
Benn, Hon. Wedgwood Grey, C. F. McLeavy, F.
Benson, G. Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Mainwaring, W. H.
Beswick, F. Grimond, J. Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale) Hale, Leslie Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)
Blackburn, F. Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Manuel, A. C.
Blenkinsop, A. Hamilton, W. W. Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.
Blyton, W. R. Hannan, W. Mason, Roy
Boardman, H. Hare, Hon. J. H Messer, Sir F.
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Hargreaves, A. Mitchison, G. R.
Bowden, H. W. Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.) Monslow, W.
Bowles, F. G. Hastings, S. Moody, A. S.
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Hayman, F. H. Morgan, Dr. H. B. W.
Brockway, A. F. Healy, Cahir (Fermanagh) Morley, R.
Brook, Dryden (Halifax) Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis) Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Holman, P. Mort, D. L.
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Holmes, Horace Moyle, A.
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Hoy, J. H. Mulley, F. W.
Burton, Miss F. E. Hubbard, T. F. Nally, W.
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.) Hudson, James (Ealing, N.) Oldfield, W. H.
Champion, A. J. Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Oliver, G. H.
Chetwynd, G. R. Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Orbach, M.
Clunie, J. Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Oswald, T.
Coldrick, W. Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Padley, W. E.
Collick, P. H. Irving, W. J. (Wood Green) Paget, R. T.
Cove, W. G. Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Paling, Rt Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Janner, B. Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)
Dairies, P. Jeger, George (Goole) Pannell, Charles
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. Jeger, Mrs. Lena Pargiter, G. A.
Darling, George (Hillsborough) Johnson, James (Rugby) Parker, J.
Davies, Harold (Leek) Jones, David (Hartlepool) Paton, J.
Davies, Stephen (Merthyr) Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.) Pearl, T. F.
Deer, G. Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Plummer, Sir Leslie
Dodds, N. N. Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Popplewell, E.
Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich) Keenan, W. Porter, G.
Edelman, M. Kenyon, C. Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Edwards, W. J. (Stepney) Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)
Evans, Edward (Lowestoft) King, Dr. H. M. Proctor, W. T.
Flenburgh, W. Lawson, G. M. Pursey, Cmdr. H.
Rankin, John Sparks, J. A. Wheeldon, W. E.
Reeves, J. Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R. White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)
Reid, Thomas (Swindon) Strachey, Rt. Hon. J. White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Rhodes, H. Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E. Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Sylvester, G. O. Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.
Rogers, George (Kensington, N.) Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield) Wilkins, W. A.
Ross, William Taylor, John (West Lothian) Willey, F. T.
Royle, C. Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth) Williams, David (Neath)
Shackleton, E. A. A. Thomas, George (Cardiff) Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)
Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir Hartley Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.) Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Short, E. W. Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin) Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'll'y)
Silverman, Julius (Erdington) Thomson, George (Dundee, E.) Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)
Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill) Thornton, E. Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)
Skeffington, A. M. Turner-Samuels, M. Willis, E. G.
Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent) Viant, S. P. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A
Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield) Wallace, H. W. Yates, V. F.
Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.) Weitzmann, D.
Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.) Wells, Percy (Faversham) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Sorensen, R. W. Wells, William (Walsall) Mr. Pearson and Mr. Arthur Allen.
Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank West, D. G.

Amendment made: In page 5, line 26, at end, insert:

(2) The said Acts shall not apply as aforesaid, if at the end of the period of two months after the service of the landlord's notice the qualifying condition was not fulfilled as respects the tenancy, unless the tenant has elected to retain possession.—[The Solicitor-General.]