§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
THE MARQUESS TOWNSHEND
said, that the object of the Bill which he would ask their Lordships to read a second time was to protect the property of lodgers against unjust seizure on the part of the landlord, and he trusted their Lordships would assent to his Motion and thereby affirm the principle. The present state of the law with regard to the property of lodgers was very unsatisfactory, and frequently gave rise to great hardship to large numbers of poor but deserving people. Lodgers were liable to have their property seized for the debts of their landlord without any reason being given for the 977 seizure, and without the smallest hope of recovering what was taken away. A land lord let his house, not upon the security, of his tenant's lodgers, but upon their be lief of the tenant's solvency, and it was very unjust that lodgers should be made to surfer for debts with which they had nothing to do. The present Bill would remove many of the evils of the existing law without interfering in any way with the equitable rights of the landlord. That some such measure was needed could be abundantly proved. Scarcely a day passed; without applications being made at the metropolitan police courts for protection against, liability to the seizure of goods belonging to lodgers. The very clothes of the lodger were liable to seizure. He proposed by this Bill to give the justices power, where the case appeared to call for it, to grant an order protecting the property of lodgers, and he hoped that what he had said would be held to be a sufficient justification for urging upon the House the propriety of passing a simple, just, and properly devised measure for the protection of people, very numerous and very poor, who were not able to protect themselves.
§ Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a"—(The Marquess Townshend.)
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
said, that if the object of the Bill was to protect lodgers against the general creditors or execution creditors of the owner of the house it was quite useless, because those creditors had no right whatever to seize the goods of the lodger. But if, on the other hand, the object was to protect the lodger against distress levied by the superior landlord, then the noble Marquess proposed to alter the whole law of distress in the country. The way that should be done was not by arming the justices with power to give protection to the beds, tables, and chairs of the lodger against distraint, but to say once for all that no landlord should have the right to distrain anything on the premises except what belonged to his own tenant.
THE MARQUESS OF WESTMEATH
said, that whatever Amendments it might be desirable to introduce into the Bill it was necessary that something should be done. He was himself personally acquainted with a case of great hardship, in which a lady had taken unfurnished lodgings in Belgravia, and had not only paid her rent, but had given money out of her pocket to relieve the distress of her landlord, and yet 978 the furniture was seized by the superior landlord, and put into the hands of bailiffs for sale. Some effort ought to be made to remedy so great an injustice. The present Bill might not be the best for the purpose, but it might be altered so as to afford some remedy. He hoped the noble and learned Lord would allow the Bill to be read a second time, and to go into Committee, in order that some progress might be made with the question.
THE MARQUESS TOWNSHEND
said, after what had fallen from the noble and learned Lord he would not persevere with the Motion.
§ Order discharged.
§ Bill, by leave of the House, withdrawn.