HC Deb 22 June 1954 vol 529 cc230-1
40. Mr. Wyatt

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he will introduce legislation to require landlords of all rented houses to state on their rent books the rateable and gross value of their houses.

Mr. Marples

No, Sir. No additional powers are needed to ensure that tenants are fully informed of their rights under the Rent Restrictions Acts and under the Housing. Repairs and Rents Bill. Section 14 (1) of the Rent and Mortgage Interest Restrictions (Amendment) Act of 1933 gives the Minister power to make regulations prescribing the forms of notices to be included in rent books.

Mr. Wyatt

Is the Minister aware that in Birmingham, for instance, where more than 200,000 houses are affected by this legislation, it will probably be necessary for the local authority to engage extra staff to answer inquiries? Could he not do something to remedy this legislation, which so far creates the maximum inconvenience to tenants and the maximum convenience to the landlords, by requiring the landlords at least to put this information on the rent books so that the tenants shall know where they are?

Mr. Marples

The important form is not that in the rent book but the notice which the landlord has to submit for the first increase in rent. I can assure the hon. Gentleman that it will be comprehensive and lucid and will give the tenants all the information they want to check the landlords' claims.

42. Mr. Braine

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he will ensure that the proposed prescribed form for a notice of increase of rent shall contain such guidance for the tenant as will inform him of his rights in the matter and the action he can take to challenge the rent increase.

Mr. Marples

Yes. Sir.

Mr. Braine

Can my hon. Friend give an assurance that the language used will be crystal-clear to the tenants and not just to lawyers and civil servants?

Mr. Marples

My right hon. Friend is taking great pains to ensure that the forms give full, clear and yet concise information. We are also publishing a popular booklet giving questions and answers—[HON. MEMBERS: "Popular?"]—which all tenants and landlords will clearly understand. I had the pleasure of reading it over my lunch today.

Mr. Wade

Will the prescribed form contain the address of the appropriate local offices to which the tenant may go to obtain information in order to check the increase claimed?

Mr. Marples

I do not know to which prescribed form the hon. Member is referring, but when the landlord issues the claim form all the relevant information will be given on it.