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Volume 901: debated on Thursday 20 March 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) how many representations he had received upon the workings of the Rent Acts 1968 and 1974 since the date of publication of the Bill which became the Rent Act in 1974;(2) how many representations he has received since March 1974 upon the rent freeze as applied to residential property.

Detailed records in the form requested in the hon. Member's Questions are not kept. We estimate that since March 1974 about 9,000 written inquiries and a large number of telephone calls have been received on the operation of the Rent Acts and on the rent freeze.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment why official advertisements appeared in the Press on 4th March advising regulated tenants to apply to rent offices and citizens' advice bureaux for detailed information about the ending of the rent freeze in the private sector on 11th March when printed copies, neither of the Act, nor of any form of explanatory leaflet, were available; and what steps he has taken to ensure that the public receives authoritative answers to their inquiries.

This advertisement, designed to allay the fears of regulated tenants of exposure to immediate steep rent increases on the ending of the rent freeze, had to appear before the freeze ended. I must regret that, unforeseeably, the Act was not printed before the adver- tisements appeared. Rent officers now have copies of the Act, and of explanatory notes prepared by the Department, and I hope that any members of the public who consulted them earlier and were disappointed in their hopes of detailed information will now consult them again.