HC Deb 25 July 1967 vol 751 cc303-4
18. Mr. Barnes

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government if he will initiate a review of the work of the furnished houses rent tribunals.

Mr. MacColl

The tribunals' work is under constant review and figures of cases handled are published in the Ministry's Handbook of Statistics.

Mr. Barnes

Is my hon. Friend aware that once a tenant goes to a rent tribunal it is often the case that there is then a sharp deterioration in his position with the landlord which leads to eviction? Is he planning to take any action following the representations made to his last month by the Neighbourhood Service Unit?

Mr. MacColl

The fact that it was necessary to improve relationships was a reason why in the Rent Act the period of security of tenure was doubled. There are difficulties about assimilating furnished and unfurnished tenancies in this respect.

Mr. Molloy

Is my hon. Friend aware that the present position is absolutely farcical and dangerous because people are led to believe that they can get fair play under the law only to find when it is interpreted for them that it is weighted and biased against them? Will he have the whole situation reviewed?

Mr. MacColl

If there are any particular cases which worry my hon. Friend, I would be glad to look at them, but in general I do not think that that is true of the tribunals, which are working efficiently.

Mr. Graham Page

Does the hon. Gentleman recollect that during the passage of the Rent Act, 1965, the Government gave an assurance to combine with the furnished houses rent tribunals the duties of the rent assessment committees? Have the Government made any progress with the combination of those functions?

Mr. MacColl

My right hon. Friend the Lord President of the Council was specifically referring to the long-run policy. For the short run, we have already taken steps to integrate the staffing of the two tribunals and we are continuing to watch the position.