HC Deb 01 November 1966 vol 735 cc234-5
22. Mr. Winnick

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he will introduce legislation to include multi-occupied furnished lettings in the same way as unfurnished lettings within the framework of the Rent Act, 1965.

Mr. MacColl

No, Sir. Furnished lettings in multi-occupied properties enjoy the same rights to rent fixing and security of tenure under the Furnished Houses (Rent Control) Act, 1946, as other furnished lettings. The machinery of this Act seems to me better adapted to the special features of furnished lettings than that of the Rent Act, 1965.

Mr. Winnick

Is my hon. Friend aware that a number of unscrupulous property companies and private landlords put in tatty bits of furniture in order to avoid tenants having full security for unfurnished premises under the Rent Act, 1965? Would he not agree that multi-occupied furnished premises are quite different from furnished premises?

Mr. MacColl

The hon. Gentleman was good enough to write to me about a particular case into which I am looking and will reply. On the more general part of the question, it is for the rent officer to decide in the first place whether the furniture is merely a few scraps to get out of the Act.

Mr. Lipton

Is it necessary for the Government to have two lots of tribunals, one dealing with furnished lettings and the other with unfurnished lettings? Cannot we have one machinery to deal with rents, whether the premises are furnished or unfurnished?

Mr. MacColl

As the hon. Member knows, we have taken the first steps towards having a common panel for the two different types of tribunals, but at the moment it is not opportune completely to fuse the two.

Mrs. Knight

Does not the Minister recognise that since the Land Commission Bill robs tenants of a great many of the rights to which they were entitled under the Rent Act, 1965, it would be ludicrous to extend those paper privileges at this time?

Mr. MacColl

If I thought there was any likelihood of a General Election soon, I would like to see the judgment of the tenants in the ballot box as to which was best for them, the Land Commission Bill or the Rent Act.