HC Deb 26 April 1972 vol 835 cc1518-9
6. Mr. Thomas Cox

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the number of prosecutions during the last 12 months in the greater London area for the failure of landlords to supply their tenants with rent books.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Reginald Eyre)

Greater London figures have not been distinguished from the national statistics and I am arranging that this is done. I will write to the hon. Member when the 1971 figures are available.

Mr. Cox

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that reply. Irrespective of what the figures show, is he aware of the great problems of many tenants in London living in deplorable accommodation, paying excessive rents yet without a rent book which would at least show them who was the landlord or the agent of the property in which they live? Could not the Government embark on a massive publicity campaign to bring home to people what are their rights, because unfortunately in London, certainly in inner London, this is just one of the many abuses that decent, honest hard-working people faced with a housing shortage have to experience?

Mr. Eyre

I understand and appreciate the point made by the hon. Gentleman but local authorities are in the best position to judge what action is needed to see that rent books are provided for weekly tenants.

Mr. Burden

Is my hon. Friend aware that only weekly tenants have the right to have particulars of the landlord and that anyone other than a weekly tenant can do so only if he takes the landlord to court on a criminal charge? There are no other means.

Mr. Eyre

My hon. Friend will be aware that the Francis Committee made recommendations in this respect which are being considered.