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Neglected Properties (Owners)

Volume 530: debated on Tuesday 20 July 1954

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government if he is aware of the continued and growing practice of certain landlords in allowing their properties to deteriorate into slums, refusing to carry out repairs under statutory and sanitary orders, and failing to leave a forwarding address whereby they can be traced for action to be taken against them; that this has created difficulties in Stanley, Livingstone and Biggerstaffe Roads, Stratford, E.15; and what action he proposes to take to compel these landlords to meet their statutory duties.

The statutory powers for enabling local authorities to deal with unfit property belonging to an untraceable owner have been strengthened in the Housing Repairs and Rents Bill. I am informed, however, that this difficulty does not arise in the areas mentioned by the hon. Member.

I appreciate that the powers have been strengthened, or that they will be, but does not the Minister agree that that means that local authorities will have to take over at great local rate expense these neglected houses which the landlords have literally sucked dry? Does the Minister think that it is right and proper that those landlords who have made huge fortunes should be allowed to get away with it while the local authorities have to pay?

That was not the Question I was asked. The Question was about landlords who cannot be traced. I know that the hon. Member is interested in the other matter. We discussed it in Committee on the Bill. What we have done in the Bill is to take additional powers to deal with the problem raised in the Question.