HC Deb 10 May 1978 vol 949 cc548-9W
47. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what proportions of rent assessment committee decisions have increased or decreased rents fixed by the rent officers in the last 12 months to a convenient date; if he will seek to place a ceiling of 30 per cent. on any rent increase for the next three years, phased at the rate of 10 per cent. per annum; and if, in view of wide-spread concern over rent increases fixed by rent assessment committees, he will make a statement.

Mr. Shore

About 4 per cent. of rents registered by rent officers in England and Wales in 1977 were referred to rent assessment committees following an objection. Committees increased the rent officer's rent in 67 per cent. of these cases, left it unchanged in 23 per cent., and reduced it in 10 per cent.; the average increase was 8.7 per cent. In carrying out their statutory duty committees must take account of all relevant circumstances, which may include any changes in costs and values since the rent was last fixed, normally at least three years previously, but possibly considerably longer. Because individual cases vary so much an arbitrary ceiling on increases would be difficult to justify, but we are examining the question of rent levels and rent fixing in the Rent Act review. Meanwhile, tenants already have their increases phased over three years under the provisions we introduced in the Housing Rents and Subsidies Act 1975.

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