HC Deb 25 October 1960 vol 627 cc2142-3
37. Mr. Pargiter

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs whether he is aware that in many cases upon the expiry of three-year leases many landlords are now issuing notices to quit without the option of renewal of the tenancy, in order to avoid the possibility of being subject to a compulsory purchase order in the event of an excessive rent being demanded; and whether he will extend the same protection to a new tenant as may be extended to an existing tenant by the compulsory purchase procedure.

Mr. H. Brooke

If a tenant is threatened with homelessness as the result of an unreasonable refusal on the part of the landlord to consider a renewal of his tenancy agreement, I am prepared to consider a compulsory purchase order on the property from the local authority, but as a general rule I would not do so in the case of a new tenant who had entered into an agreement to pay the rent in question.

Mr. Pargiter

Having regard to the very great shortage of accommodation, is the right hon. Gentleman aware—I am sure he must be—of the very large number of new tenants forced to accept exorbitant terms because they cannot get a roof over their heads in any other way?

Mr. Brooke

I do not think the survey which I shall publish will bear out the force of the last part of the hon. Member's supplementary question, at any rate up to 1959, but in any case, where new agreements have recently been entered into between landlords and tenants, I am quite sure that it would not be right to interfere with their terms.

Dame Irene Ward

In relation to the last statement made by my right hon. Friend, may I ask whether he is circulating all local authorities to that effect, in view of the fact that they may be aware of what their powers are but do not feel called upon to use them in the terms he has announced?

Mr. Brooke

I was not proposing to send a further circular to all local authorities. I think all local authorities throughout England and Wales will be aware of the first circular I sent to local authorities in London and Greater London and I am sure that these Questions and Answers in the House today will draw attention to the matter throughout England and Wales.