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Unoccupied Dwellings

Volume 496: debated on Tuesday 26 February 1952

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government the number of vacant houses there are throughout the country; and whether he will take action to prevent houses from standing empty for long periods by drawing the attention of local authorities, by circular, to the powers of requisitioning in order to allocate them to people in need of accommodation.


asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he will empower local authorities to take over under-occupied private dwellings in order to rehouse families in urgent need and prevent sale with vacant possession at excessive prices.

I regret that I am unable to give the information asked for. Local authorities already have powers to acquire houses for the discharge of their duties under the Housing Act, and I think that where necessary those powers, and not those of requisitioning, should be used.

Can the Minister say how he expects local authorities to respond to his appeal to rehouse in bungalows families living in houses which are too large for them, unless the private landlord is willing to take people from the local authority lists instead of waiting to sell the house with vacant possession at extortionate prices?

I am asked in this Question to state the powers of local authorities in this matter, and I have stated in reply that the local authorities have power to acquire these houses.

In view of the very unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I will raise the matter on the Adjournment.