HC Deb 05 February 1963 vol 671 cc225-6
26. Mr. Lipton

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs if he is aware that in certain cases families have been denied flats by landlords because they have successfully applied to rent tribunals for a reduction in the rent of their present accommodation and what action he is taking to ensure that successful applicants to rent tribunals are not subsequently penalised.

Sir K. Joseph

One such case was reported recently in the Press. I have heard of no others. Landlords are, of course, entitled to inquire into the suitability of an applicant for a tenancy, but I would deplore discrimination against him simply because he has exercised a right given by Parliament. At the same time, it must be recognised that it is impossible to compel owners by law to let to tenants they do not want.

Mr. Lipton

Has the right hon. Gentleman investigated what looks like a nasty bit of victimisation by the Midland Bank Executor & Trustee Company Ltd., which refused a tenancy to a man who had made a successful application for a reduction in rent before the Croydon District Rent Tribunal? May not this be one of a large number of cases where tenants are being victimised by landlords for having the presumption to exercise their legitimate rights under existing legislation?

Sir K. Joseph

I think that it is wrong of the hon. Gentleman, on the evidence of one case, to say anything that might frighten tenants from using the rights that Parliament has given them. I have heard of this one case and I have deplored the action, but I have no evidence that this is widespread.

Lieut.-Colonel Cordeaux

While realising that it is difficult for my right hon. Friend to do much about these cases and the matter in general, would he agree that in many cases these landlords of slum furnished accommodation form a very close ring and that they are invariably able to get rid of tenants, at any rate within six months of an appeal to a rent tribunal, and then ensure that they get in nowhere else?

Sir K. Joseph

I would be grateful to my hon. and gallant Friend if he could let me have any evidence to support that. There are powers in the hands of local authorities which can be used in appropriate cases—I stress in appropriate cases—and I would be grateful for any evidence that he has.