§ If any occupied house within the district of any local authority other than the local authority of a burgh is without a proper supply of wholesome water at or reasonably near the same, the local authority shall require the owner to obtain such supply and to do all such works as may be necessary for that purpose, and failing his doing so, within twelve months after due notice, the local authority may themselves obtain such supply and for that purpose may use their powers of acquiring land by agreement or otherwise under this Act; and may, for the purpose of obtaining such supply, enter upon the premises and execute all such 196 works as may appear to them necessary, in the same manner as if an order of a sheriff, magistrate, or justice had been made for the removal of a nuisance on the premises and that order had not been complied with; and the local authority may recover in a summary manner from the owner the whole or a reasonable part of the expenses incurred by them under this section: Provided that where the owners of two or more houses have failed to comply with the requirements of the notice served on them under this section, and the local authority might under this Act execute the necessary works for providing a water supply for each house, the local authority may, if it appears to them desirable and no greater expense would be occasioned thereby, execute works for the joint supply of water to those houses, and apportion the expenses as they deem just, and further provided that if any question shall arise under this section it shall be determined summarily by the sheriff who shall have regard to all the circumstances of the case, and whose decision shall be final. Provided that nothing in this section shall relieve the local authority from the duty of providing their district or any part thereof with a supply of water, where a general scheme for such supply is required, and can be carried out at a reasonable cost.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
moved to insert after "owner" ["owner to detain"] "either to cease to use, or permit such house to be used, for occupation or." The clause empowered a local authority to require the owner of a house to obtain a supply of water for his house, if there was not a sufficient supply, and failing his doing so within twelve months, they might obtain such a supply and make him defray the cost. His reason for moving this Amendment was that it might happen that a person who had a house for which there was not a proper water supply was not willing to go to the expense of obtaining it. The owner had no right to commit a nuisance, and the local authority would be perfectly right in ordering him to get a supply of water, but if the owner would prefer to give up the habitation of the house or not to let it rather than be forced to pay the cost of bringing a supply of water to it, he ought to be given that power, a power he had under the existing law.
admitted that an owner had the power which the noble Lord had described, but he deprecated the insertion of the proposed words because it would certainly be regarded as a direct incentive to turn people out of their houses, and would be a sort of premium upon evictions. He hoped the 197 noble Lord would not press the Amendment, because it would add nothing at all to the power of the owner of a house.
THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
said that the clause did not give an owner power to close his house. It was provided that—the local authority shall require the owner to obtain such supply and to do all such works as may be necessary for that purpose, and failing his doing so within twelve months after due notice the local authority may themselves obtain such supply and for that purpose may use their powers of acquiring landand—the local authority may recover in a summary manner from the owner the whole or a reasonable part of the expenses.That changed the law.
said the noble Lord would remember what took place last year. As the Bill was drafted the local authority was given power to introduce a water supply within six months, and it was pointed out that some houses were let on yearly tenancies, and the owner would not then have the option of ceasing to use the house for habitation. Twelve months was put in so that under all the circumstances the owner would have that option.
THE MARQUESS OF LOTHIAN
asked if it was absolutely certain that the clause would not change the law, he had some doubt on the subject.
pointed out that the opening words of the clause were "if any occupied house within the district." If during twelve months the landlord preferred not to occupy a house or to let it rather than go to the expense of putting in a water supply, the house would then not be an occupied house, and it would not come under the clause at all. The clause as it stood made no alteration in the law to the detriment of the landlord.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendments made: leave out—
appear to them necessary, in the same manner as if an order of a sheriff, magistrate, or justice had been made for the removal of a nuisance on the premises and that order had not been complied with,'
and insert "be necessary." Leave out "they deem" and insert "shall be."—(Lord, Balfour.)
§ Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
§ Clauses 126 to 130 inclusive ordered to stand part of the Bill.
§ Clause 131,—