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Requisitioned House, Chiswick (Rent)

Volume 414: debated on Thursday 25 October 1945

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asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that the borough council of Brent ford and Chiswick, are continuing to requisition 8, Arlington Park Mansions, Chiswick, at £3 18s. 10d. per annum less than the present permitted rent; and that the homeless tenant put in, by the authority is being charged 20 per cent. more than the rent paid to the landlord; and if he will take steps to end the policy by which local authorities are permitted to pay less than the standard rent to landlords and charge more than the standard rent to tenants.

I am aware that it is contended that the compensation rental is less than the standard rent; and that the occupant is paying more than the former sum. I have recently sent a circular to local authorities on the subject of the charges to be made for requisitioned premises and I will send the hon. and gallant Member a copy.

Do I understand then that the local authority can do what a private landlord dare not do, that is, charge rent to an unfortunate dispossessed person higher than the standard rent? Is that the legal position?

There have been previous instances where the local authorities have been doing that, and they do not appear to have aroused the indignation of the hon. and gallant Gentleman earlier. He will see, however, from a circular, that I have anticipated his indignation.

Would my right hon. Friend bear this point in mind when he comes to consider any legislation based on the report of the Ridley Committee—whether local authorities should be governed by the Rent Restriction Act or not?

I will certainly do that but I cannot promise that the Bill I shall bring before the House, which will be a comparatively modest Measure, will make provision for these things.

Am I right in understanding that local authorities may charge rents above the standard rents, whereas private individuals may not?