HC Deb 28 November 1967 vol 755 cc218-21
22 and 32. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government (1) how many applications for determination of a fair rent have been made to rent officers in the Greater London Council area; how many are outstanding; and what is the average time between such determinations and the hearing of appeals by rent assessment committees in London in cases where appeals are submitted;

(2) the number of applications for determination of a fair rent by rent officers outstanding outside the London area at the latest convenient date; and what guidance he has given to local authorities and to rent officers in such areas in relation to the increase or decrease of the staffs employed on this work.

Mr. MacColl

As the Answer contains a table of figures, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

I have nothing to add to the Answer which was given to a Question by the hon. Member for Hornsey (Mr. Rossi) on 14th November about the average time taken by the rent assessment committees in London to determine objections. The average time elapsing between determinations by rent officers and receipt of objections at the London Rent Assessment Panel is not known, but normally I have no reason to think that it is other than reasonable. Clerks of local authorities concerned have been asked to consider what adjustments should be made in the rent officer complements in their registration areas to deal with the expected work load. More sharing in the services of rent officers between registration areas has been suggested.—[Vol. 754, c. 72.]

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

In view of the very good progress made by rent officers with their work, particularly in the provinces, can the hon. Gentleman say when the pledge given by the former Minister to put controlled tenancies into regulation will be carried out?

Mr. MacColl

There is a later Question on that.

Following is the table:

Greater London Council Area Rest of England
Applications for registration of fair rent:
1. Received (net figure) 29,243 29,997
2. In hand at 10th November 3,981 4,149
Applications for Certificates of fair rent:
3. Received (net figure) 3,804 5,379
4. In hand at 10th November 270 355

33. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government how many cases have been heard by rent officers upon application by tenants and landlords; how many outstanding cases are awaiting hearing; how many cases there are of unfair rents he estimates remaining yet to be referred to rent officers; and what publicity on television, in the Press or otherwise, he has given since July telling tenants of their rights under the 1965 Rent Act.

Mr. MacColl

Separate figures of the number of applications for registration made by landlords and by tenants are not available, nor can any reliable estimate be made of the number of regulated tenancies where no fair rent has been registered and where the rent payable is unfair. I will, with permission, circulate the remainder of the figures in the OFFICIAL REPORT. Since July a leaflet to help immigrants understand the rights of landlords and tenants under the Act has been issued in several languages and there have been two showings of a television filler on the rent officer service. Continuous publicity for the rent officer service is also obtained through posters on display in such places as council offices and libraries.

Mr. Allaun

Is it not a fact that many thousands of tenants entitled to rent reductions are not making application for them, either because they are unaware of their rights or because they are frightened of victimisation? If all those entitled to them made application, is it not a fact that the rent officers would have more than enough to do in every area?

Mr. MacColl

My right hon. Friend is most anxious that tenants, particularly those in the lower gross value ranges, should make more use of the rent officer than they are doing.

Mr. Graham Page

How can the hon. Gentleman encourage people to go to rent officers when they are being sacked on 1st January? Will he confirm that a large number are being sacked and that this is a breach of the promise given by his right hon. Friend, who was then Minister of Housing, to put the rent officers on to extending the control of regulated tenancies?

Mr. MacColl

That is a very exaggerated statement of what has happened. In fact, what my right hon. Friend is doing, in order to create an example of economy and get the maximum out of public servants, which hon. Gentlemen opposite are always asking us to do, is reviewing the rent officer service to see if it can be streamlined.

Following are the figures for England and Wales up to and including 10th November, 1967:

Applications for registration of fair rent Applications for certificates
Determined Under consideration Issued Under consideration
52,035 8,611 8,954 631