§ Mr. Parker
asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that many local authorities and private landlords are charging full rents for war-damaged premises after first-aid repairs have been undertaken; that many such premises are still very draughty and uncomfortable; and will he taken steps to see that full rents and rates are not charged until they have been made really habitable.
§ Mr. Willink
I have consulted my Noble Friend, the Lord Chancellor, and would refer my hon. Friend to Section 1 of the Landlord and Tenant (War Damage) (Amendment) Act, 1941. The general effect of the Section is to provide for the suspension or reduction of the rent of a dwelling house let on a short tenancy which has been made unfit by reason of war damage. A house is deemed to be fit where such repairs as are reasonably practicable at the time have been carried out having regard to the amount of war damage in the area and the availability 747W of labour and materials. Local authorities have power to issue a certificate that a house has been made fit to the extent practicable, such a certificate being prima facie evidence that the house is fit for the period to which the certificate relates. Local authorities must, however, revoke a certificate if on application by the tenant after not less than three months and inspection of the house they are astisfied that a higher standard is practicable or that the repairs carried out have not been efficiently maintained. I have no power, in the circumstances described, to require local authorities to accept reduced payment in respect of rates, but I am sending my hon. Friend a copy of a circular issued in 1940 which indicates some steps which could be taken to help in cases of difficulty.