Skip to main content

Rent Acts

Volume 950: debated on Wednesday 24 May 1978

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the implications for the administration of the Rent Acts of the judgment in the case of Somma v. Hazelhurst.

In Somma v. Hazelhurst, the Court of Appeal held that agreements under which the respondents had been granted the right to share accommodation owned by the appellant were licences and thus not subject to the Rent Act 1977. The court, however, also expressly approved another county court decision in which agreements having similar characteristics had been held to have created a joint tenancy to which the 1977 Act applied.My right hon. Friend was aware, from evidence submitted to the review of the Rent Acts and from other sources, that even before the judgment a considerable number of owners had allowed property to be occupied under agreements purporting to be licences to share accommodation. The immediate implications of the judgment appear to be that the status of any particular sharing agreement will continue to depend on the circumstances and the intentions of the parties when the agreement was entered into. It is not possible at present to estimate to what extent the use of agreements to share accommodation will become more common as a consequence of the judgment, but for the reasons mentioned its implications may not be as widespread as some have feared.