If, in the case of a dwelling in respect of the provision or improvement of which assistance has been given under section nineteen of this Act, being a dwelling to which works (other than works for the purposes of the execution of which assistance has been so given) have been executed at a time when the conditions specified in subsection (1) of section twenty-two of this Act are required to be observed with respect to the dwelling, an application in that behalf is made to the local authority, they may direct that the maximum amount of the rent payable by the occupier of the dwelling shall be increased by such amount as may be specified in the direction, not exceeding an amount calculated at a rate per annum of eight per cent. of the cost of executing the works; and where such a direction is given—
Brought up, and read the First time.
I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."This new Clause is to deal with the case where a dwelling has been improved or provided with the aid of an improvement grant made under this Bill, and the conditions attached to such a grant are still operative and further works are carried out by the owner at his own expense. In such a case we think it is only right that the owner should be allowed to charge up to 8 per cent. on the cost that he has had to incur in addition to the rent, which otherwise would be restricted under the terms of the Bill. In this case the owner would have to make application to the local authority, which would, in turn, give a direction to the effect that the owner would be allowed to make such an increase up to a maximum of 8 per cent. on the additional cost of works he had undertaken.
Again we make no objection to the inclusion of this Clause, although when one considers how many times we have impressed on the Minister the desirability in some cases, under some circumstances, of a modest increase in rent being made and how the Minister has in all cases resisted any suggestion of the kind, fiercely and, indeed, contentiously, we are surprised, to find that in this case, at any rate, he is willing to waive his principle in favour of an expediency. We are glad to see that is so.
I cannot permit that one to pass. I am afraid that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman has not recalled the circumstances in which I agreed upstairs to do this. The case here is that a cottage which is a rent-controlled cottage and, therefore, one to which the landlord can at the moment make improvement and charge 8 per cent., will be subject to the improvement grant conditions. The work is carried out and 6 per cent. of the cost that falls to the landlord of the improvement is charged. The question then arises as to whether that cottage is to be in a different category from all other rent-controlled cottages, because in the case of all other rent-controlled cottages the owner would be able to make an improvement and charge 8 per cent. on the rent. I came to the conclusion that it would be foolish for this category of cottage to be permanently in the position of not being improved at all, except entirely at the expense of the owner, and, therefore, the cottage can be restored to the same class that it occupied before the improvement grant was made upon it. So it is not in fact an agreement to allow an increase of rent in this case as distinct from all others; it is a restoration of the cottage to the normal category of cottages to which improvement can be made by the landlord and 8 per cent. Charged.
Is this extra expenditure included in the total of the grant—both the contribution and what the owner himself has put up?
No. I thought that I had made the position quite clear. The improvement grant has been made on a cottage. A year or so lapses, and the owner of the cottage wishes to make a further improvement. Unless this Clause were put in the Bill, he would have to meet the whole of the expense himself, whereas his neighbour could improve his cottage and charge the tenant 8 per cent. I want to put the two owners in the same position, and that is all that the Clause does.
Question put, and agreed to.
Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.