Oral Answers to Questions — Vacant Houses (Local Authorities' Powers)

– in the House of Commons on 6th August 1942.

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Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that certain owners of vacant houses are refusing to let them to possible tenants; and whether he will take steps by increasing the powers of local authorities, or otherwise, to compel owners of such property to let at reasonable rentals after the lapse of a specified period when their houses become vacant?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

My attention has been drawn to a few districts in London where there are vacant houses. I am making inquiries to ascertain what are the special reasons for their remaining empty, and I shall be glad to consider any information which my hon. Friend may care to send to me. As he knows, I have already delegated powers to local authorities for requisitioning houses for people who are required to move in connection with the war effort.

Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

Has the right hon. Gentleman any information regarding houses to let in North-East London? Does he appreciate how galling it is for people who need houses to be refused them?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

Of course, North-East London is a large area. If the hon. Member will let me know of any particular cases, it will help me in my general inquiries.

Photo of Mr John Dugdale Mr John Dugdale , West Bromwich

Will the right hon. Gentleman's investigation be confined to London, or will it extend to places such as Birmingham?

Photo of Mr Ernest Brown Mr Ernest Brown , Leith

I did not say that I would confine my inquiries to London.

Photo of Mr Robert Morrison Mr Robert Morrison , Tottenham North

Will the right hon. Gentleman make it compulsory on property owners to notify vacancies to local authorities?