HC Deb 04 March 1958 vol 583 cc959-61
37. Mr. Hannan

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what action he will now take against factors and property owners who use eviction notices as a prelude to rent negotiations.

Mr. Maclay

I have no power to take any action about the service of notices to quit, but I should like to emphasise that it is not legally necessary, and is indeed undesirable, to service notice to quit as a preliminary to negotiating a new three-year tenancy of a decontrolled house.

Mr. Hannan

But does not the right hon. Gentleman recognise that it will take more than dark and mysterious warnings to restrain the worst type of landlord from taking advantage of the very Act which he himself passed?

Mr. Awbery

Is the Minister aware that he has placed tyrannical power in the hands of tyrants, and that when he does this he is encouraging those tyrants to use that power? What will he do to protect the people who will be penalised by the use of this power of the tyrants?

Mr. Maclay

This matter was fully debated yesterday. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I repeat that the great majority of landlords are acting reasonably; and to the minority who are not acting reasonably I have made my views very clear.

39. Dr. Dickson Mabon

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will undertake to warn landlords of dwelling houses decontrolled by the Rent Act, 1957, against issuing notices to their tenants that they must either buy or quit the dwelling house, demanding unreasonably righ rents, and issuing notices to quit without first attempting to negotiate a new tenancy at a reasonable rent.

58. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he proposes to issue a warning to Scots property owners on the Rent Act, 1957, similar to the one recently given by the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs to property owners in England.

Mr. Maclay

I have already on several occasions warned landlords of decontrolled houses against acting unreasonably and I did deal with the matter again in a speech on 28th February.

Dr. Mabon

In view of the fact that the Secretary of State recognises that at least a minority of landlords might abuse their powers under the Rent Act, may I ask if he is satisfied that his present powers are adequate to deal with such landlords; or does he, like the Chairman of the National Union of Conservative and Unionist Associations, feel that at least three amendments are desirable to the Rent Act to give him the powers with which to back his recent threat?

Mr. Maclay

I have nothing to add to what was said in yesterday's debate.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the leading Press organ of his party in the West of Scotland today says that the threat of eviction is hanging over Kelvingrove, and will he do something to dispel that threat?

Mr. Maclay

I repeat that at Question Time we cannot go over again a matter which was fully debated for a number of hours yesterday, when I made my views quite clear.

Mr. T. Fraser

Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that what was not debated yesterday was that the candidate for whom he spoke last Friday has now discovered that the Act needs to be amended in three important aspects? Will he ask what those three important aspects are, and inform the House of Commons?

Several Hon. Members rose

Mr. Speaker

Order. I do not think the Minister is responsible for what a candidate says.