HC Deb 16 November 1954 vol 533 cc208-9
38. Mr. Janner

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he is aware that 22 of the 28 London metropolitan boroughs are searching for unidentified persons, who purported to act as agent for the owners of properties in their boroughs; that many summonses under the Public Health (London) Act, 1936, to abate nuisances, could not in consequence be served; that, in such circumstances, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to trace the owners of the properties concerned; and whether he will amend the Rent and Mortgage Interest Restrictions Act, to enable this difficulty to be avoided in future, by making it compulsory for the owner's name to be given on a rent book where-ever there is a letting which comes within the provisions of the said Rent Acts whether it be a weekly tenancy or not.

Mr. Sandys

In the case of all weekly rent-restricted tenancies, it has, ever since 1938, been compulsory for the landlord to provide a rent book in which his name and address are stated. In the case of longer tenancies this is not legally compulsory. But I am not satisfied that an alteration of the law in this respect would solve the kind of difficulties which have prompted this Question.

Mr. Janner

What does the right hon. Gentleman think will solve this difficulty? Is he aware that 22 borough councils sent representatives to a meeting to deal with a man called Brady, who either does not exist or cannot be found? Will the Minister do something towards seeing that the particulars on rent books are of such a nature that a person can be traced, and will he increase the penalties for wrong statements on rent books?

Mr. Sandys

The problem of tracing a man who does not exist cannot be solved by legislation.