HC Deb 28 May 1941 vol 371 cc1865-6W
Dr. Summerskill

asked the Attorney-General whether he will introduce legislation to exempt tenants of flats requisitioned by the Government from the liability to pay rent for those flats when these are derequisitioned at any future date, and so to permit such tenants to take long-period leases, instead of only temporary ones, of other premises without fear of having to pay two separate rents?

The Attorney-General

I presume the hon. Member's suggestion is that a tenant should have a right to disclaim a lease whenever the property covered by the lease is requisitioned. This interference with contractual rights would not, I think, be justified. If premises cease to be requisitioned and the lettable value has fallen, relief may be obtained under the Liabilities (War-Time Adjustment) Bill if the tenant is in financial difficulties. If the lettable value has not fallen the tenant would presumably be able to re-let them if he did not desire to occupy them.

Dr. Summerskill

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether when requisitioning buildings involving the dispossession of existing tenants, he will ensure that such tenants are freed from all future liability under their leases in order that they may be free to take leases of fresh accommodation without incurring the risk of double liability for rents?

Captain Crookshank

I am afraid that I cannot adopt the hon. Member's suggestion which, unless any consequential loss which might arise were to be thrown upon the lessor, would involve the acceptance by the Crown of long-term liabilities extending beyond the period for which the premises concerned were rquired. The Question seems to assume that all dispossessed tenants would wish to be relieved of their tenancies, which I am advised is not the case.

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