HC Deb 24 February 1982 vol 18 cc855-6
15. Mr. McTaggart

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received to amend the provisions of section 1(2) of the Rent (Scotland) Act 1971, as amended by the Rent (Scotland) Act 1974, which exempts tenancies where the rent includes payments in respect of board from the general provisions regarding rent regulations, so as to make any such lettings to students attending full-time courses at a university or college of further education liable to regulation.

Mr. Rifkind

We have had representations very recently from a number of hon. Members, to which replies will be sent shortly. As indicated in the reply that was given on 10 February to the right hon. Member for Western Isles (Mr. Stewart), legislative provision relating to the private letting of houses introduced by successive Administrations in the past has been consistent in not applying to tenancies of this kind, and we have no proposals for amendment.

Mr. McTaggart

Is the Under-Secretary aware that many students are denied the protection of the Rent (Scotland) Act 1971 for the fair fixing of their rents because they have signed bed and breakfast agreements with unscrupulous landlords? The landlords get round the rule by delivering bread rolls and milk to some flats and requiring other students to travel some distance to obtain their food. What steps does the Under-Secretary propose to rid us of those Rachmans?

Mr. Rifkind

I accept that the problem exists. The hon. Gentleman must appreciate that successive Governments have found it difficult to discover a definition that would provide protection where it was required but would not extend it to boarding houses or hotels that provide board and lodging. Such problems have been difficult to accommodate when we have tried to find proper protection for those who can reasonably expect it.