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Increases Of Rent Under Controlled Tenancy Permitted Towards Cost Of Repairs

Volume 887: debated on Monday 24 February 1975

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Lords Amendment: No. 14, in page 8, line 32, leave out "or" and insert:

"unless they were completed on or after 6th April 1973.
( ) This section does not apply to repairs".

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

This amendment was put down following Opposition representations and discussions during the Bill's passage through this House. It was pointed out that some landlords would have undertaken repairs to their property in anticipation of decontrol under the general programme of decontrol in the Housing Finance Act.

I accepted that landlords who had repaired their property in this way should be entitled to some recompense for their expenditure. Subject to the introduction of a provision to enable tenants to seek evidence in respect of which the 12½ per cent. increase is claimed. I expressed my willingness to make the provision retrospective for one year. In response to further representations from, and after correspondence with, the Opposition the Government have decided that they will accept retrospection to the beginning of the tax year 1973–4, this being a date from which it can reasonably be expected that documentary evidence of the cost of repairs will be available if required.

The effect of this amendment, therefore, is that repairs to property that is let on controlled tenancies that have been completed on or after 6th April 1973 will come within the 12½ per cent. rent increase provision.

Question put and agreed to.

Lords Amendment: No. 15, in page 9, line 18, at end insert:

"(11) If—
  • (a) the landlord serves a notice of increase of rent by virtue of this section, and
  • (b) the tenant requests him in writing, not later than three months after service of the notice, to supply him with information showing how he has calculated the expenditure on the repairs,
  • it shall be the landlord's duty, not later than one month after the date of the request, to supply the tenant with copies of such accounts, receipts and other documents as are reasonably necessary for that purpose.
    (12) A request under subsection (11) above shall be deemed to be duly made to a landlord if it is served on any agent of the landlord named as such in a rent book or other similar document, or on the person who receives the rent on behalf of the landlord; and it shall be the duty of a person on whom a request is so served to forward it as soon as may be to the landlord.
    (13) If any person without reasonable excuse fails to perform any duty imposed on him by subsection (11) or (12) above, he shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £200."

    12.45 a.m.

    I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

    With this amendment it will be convenient to discuss Lords Amendment No. 37, in Schedule 4, page 28, line 6, at end insert:

    "5. Where an offence under section 11(13) above which has been committed by a body corporate is proved to have been committed with the consent or connivance of, or to be attributable to any neglect on the part of, a director, manager, secretary or other similar officer of the body corporate, or any person who was purporting to act in any such capacity, he, as well as the body corporate, shall be guilty of that offence and be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.
    6. Where the affairs of a body corporate are managed by its members, paragraph 5 above shall apply in relation to the acts and defaults of a member in connection with his functions of management as if he were a director of the body corporate."

    The new subsections contained in Amendment No. 15 are designed to give the tenant from whom a 12½ per cent. a year increase on account of repairs has been demanded the right to require documentary evidence of the costs on which the increase was calculated. They make it an offence for a landlord or his agent not to comply with his duty to provide this information.

    This provision was requested by my hon. Friend the Member for Salford, East (Mr. Allaun). We are happy to have been able to insert it in the Bill.

    Question put and agreed to.