HC Deb 30 May 1918 vol 106 cc1001-2W
Colonel THORNE

asked the Secretary to the Local Government Board whether he is aware that a number of landlords in West Ham, Manchester, and other places have added to the rent of tenants the amount of their extra disbursement in rates; whether he is aware that practically the whole of such landlords have enjoyed since the declaration of war the statutory deductions as fixed in their respective areas from the gross estimated rental of their properties in order to arrive at the net rate able value, but in very few cases have made the outlay upon repairs for which the deduction is allowed; and whether, in order to protect these tenants from improper and inequitable profiteering, he will at once issue a circular letter to all local assessment committees directing that a return be prepared of all increases of rent since the declaration of war, together with a statement of the expenditure upon repairs undertaken in respect to the here ditament, and that where such increase of rent has taken place no deduction for repairs under the Parochial Assessment Act shall exceed the actual outlay of the landlord on the property?


I have no means of ascertaining to what extent landlords avail themselves of the statutory provisions which enables them in certain circumstances to increase the rent by an amount corresponding to the increase of rates. As regards the second part of the question, I may point out that the deduction for repairs is intended to cover the probable average annual cost of such repairs, and is in no way dependent upon the actual outlay in any particular year. I do not think it would be possible to obtain the return suggested, and even if it could be obtained, I have no power to give the direction indicated in the last part of the question.