HC Deb 26 June 1969 vol 785 cc1847-8
Mr. Skeffington

I beg to move Amendment No. 93, in page 32, line 27, at end insert— (2) In subsection (4) of that section (right of appeal) for the words from 'within' to 'served' there shall be substituted the words 'within twenty-one days from the service or such longer period as the local authority may in writing allow'. This Amendment gives effect to the Minister's undertaking in response to the hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mr. Allason) to look again at the time for appeal after a management order has been made.

Clause 60 provides that section 12(2) of the Housing Act 1961 shall cease to have effect. This relieves the local authority of the obligation to give twenty-one days notice of their intention to make such an order. When the Bill becomes law, local authorities will be able to make a management order without having previously taken formal action to warn the owner. The reason is that management orders are usually minimal requirements that any good landlord would have effected, and the twenty-one days is the period before effective action could be taken.

I do not think that the hon. Gentleman quarrelled with that, but he suggested that the time which an owner would have to appeal to the magistrates' court was not long enough, and he moved an Amendment to provide for a longer period.

My right hon. Friend considered this, but he said, as he said in connection with other parts of the Clause, that it was not proposed that the courts should be involved at this stage. The procedure in the Housing Act, 1961, Section 16—whereby the local authority can give a longer period—is the kind of power which would give the flexibility the hon. Gentleman wants. It is not likely to be refused, because, by the time the decision is reached, there has usually been a good deal of informal action to get the house brought up to this minimum standard.

The Amendment provides that there will be this further period allowable at the discretion of the local authority. In one sense this goes further than the hon. Gentleman thought, and I hope, therefore, that the Amendment will be accepted.

Mr. Allason

I think that, once again, the vigilance of the Opposition has been justified. We are grateful to the Government for saying that we were right.

Amendment agreed to.

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