HC Deb 28 November 1967 vol 755 cc221-2
23. Mr. Barnes

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government how many cases there have been, since the Rent Ac:, 1965, came into operation, of tenants of purported furnished accommodation applying to rent officers for the determination of a fair rent on the grounds that the amount of rent attributable to the furniture does not meet the legal requirement; and how many of these cases rent officers decided they were able to deal with under the Rent Act, 1965.

Mr. MacColl

Our information is not sufficient to give a comprehensive answer, but I have seen a report of a case at Marylebone County Court where a tenancy alleged to be furnished was held to be unfurnished. This is being studied.

Mr. Barnes

Would not my hon. Friend agree that many tenants of so-called furnished accommodation are probably not aware that this sort of reclassification is possible? Can he take steps to end some of the confusion which still undoubtedly exists in people's minds between the very limited power of the rent tribunals and the much wider powers of rent officers?

Mr. MacColl

We are considering whether there is any way in which we can get more information across. The importance of this case is that it demonstrates that it is not a simple matter of landlords shoving a few sticks of furniture into a room. It is a matter of fact which the courts will examine. I hope that the more this is understood by tenants the more willing they will be to go to the rent officer.