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Compulsory Purchase

Volume 640: debated on Tuesday 9 May 1961

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs whether he is aware that it is now possible for private landlords, in an area to be acquired compulsorily by a local authority for redevelopment, to spend substantial amounts of money on improvement of a house and soon afterwards to claim compensation at market value when the house is demolished; and whether he is considering legislation to prevent this.

It is already provided in paragraph 8 (5) of the Third Schedule to the Housing Act, 1957, that improvements effected after notice is given of a compulsory purchase order, and carried out with a view to increasing compensation, must be ignored in assessing compensation.


asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs whether it is his policy to confirm compulsory purchase orders made by local authorities on residential property under the Housing Act, 1957, in order to prevent the eviction of a tenant, in circumstances where the rent asked by the landlord is over five times the gross annual value.

I think it would be unwise to take any particular multiple of gross value as the point at which rents of decontrolled properties can be said to be exorbitant. Values of property have risen since 1939, more in some places than in others. Moreover, the other conditions of the tenancy need to be examined as well as the rent demanded. Each case has to be decided on its merits.

Is the Minister aware that he has just refused to confirm a compulsory purchase order in a case in my constituency where the family is being evicted under the Rent Act and where the borough council has asked for a compulsory purchase order and where the rent being asked is more than five times the gross annual value?

This is a case in which the borough council made a compulsory purchase order and partly, at any rate, as a result of that, the rent being asked has been reduced from £400 to £300. That rent, which includes a sum for landlord services, I calculate at four and a half times the gross value.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in the case which I have in mind he has refused to confirm the compulsory purchase order and that the rent being asked is in fact five times the gross annual value? Will he undertake, if that is so, to look at the case again?

We are considering the same case, but the right hon. Gentleman calculates the rent at five times and I am allowing for the fact that, by common consent, the rent includes something for landlord's services.