HC Deb 20 December 1960 vol 632 cc1060-1
35. Mr. Darling

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs if he will take powers to enable him to enforce decisions of local rent tribunals in cases where landlords have refused to accept such decisions and have threatened to evict tenants who refuse to pay higher rents than those permitted by the tribunals.

Mr. Brooke

Local authorities already have powers to institute proceedings where an offence under the Furnished Houses (Rent Control) Act, 1946, has been committed. I do not think that further legislation is required.

Mr. Darling

Is the Minister aware that, although the Question is in the plural, it applies to only one case, namely, Regent Court in Sheffield, where I understand that the legal situation is very peculiar indeed? It is controlled property and the rent tribunal has fixed the rents only for the few tenants who do not come under the control arrangements. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that for six months the landlords have refused to accept any rents and are now threatening to evict the tenants who have offered the rents because they will not pay the price demanded by the landlords? In those circumstances, does he suggest that only the local authorities can take action?

Mr. Brooke

I was simply referring to Section 10 of the Act, which provides that no proceedings shall be instituted otherwise than by the local authority. If the Sheffield City Council considers that it has a good case and that the Act is being infringed, it is open to it to institute proceedings.