Tenanted Houses (Installation of Sanitary Fittings)

Oral Answers to Questions — Housing – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th June 1965.

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Photo of Mr Evelyn King Mr Evelyn King , South Dorset 12:00 am, 29th June 1965

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he will introduce legislation to enable private landlords to install minimal sanitary facilities in their properties with or without the consent of the tenants.

Photo of Mr Robert Mellish Mr Robert Mellish , Bermondsey

My right hon. Friend will bear this suggestion in mind, but his present view is that compulsory improvement should remain the responsibility of local authorities.

Photo of Mr Evelyn King Mr Evelyn King , South Dorset

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that we want to encourage good landlords and if, as in many cases, it is the tenant who resists a decent improvement a good landlord is completely frustrated?

Photo of Mr Robert Mellish Mr Robert Mellish , Bermondsey

Yes, but tenants have certain rights in the matter and they cannot be taken away from them. There is, for example, the case of the elderly person who does not want a house to be altered in any way. Many factors are involved and previous Governments as well as this Government have taken the view that tenants have certain rights. I agree that landlords also have certain rights to have improvements made. However, by means of better education of tenants we might be able to get something done.

Photo of Hon. Nicholas Ridley Hon. Nicholas Ridley , Cirencester and Tewkesbury

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that resistance by tenants to improvement of their homes both by private and public landlords is becoming one of the major obstacles to the improvement of rural housing? Will he look at this matter again sympathetically because I think that my hon. Friend the Member for Dorset, South (Mr. King) is on a good point?

Photo of Mr Robert Mellish Mr Robert Mellish , Bermondsey

It would be fair to say that most of the tenants I have dealt with have been only too grateful for any improvements which have been suggested, but one gets the odd case in which a tenant will not have improvements done. If we can help by education we shall do so, but not by law.

Photo of Mr Frank Allaun Mr Frank Allaun , Salford East

Is not the resistance to improvement coming, not from tenants, but from landlords? In spite of the increased help given under the 1963 Act, they are still resisting improvements and, in the view of many of us, landlords outside improvement areas should also be subject to compulsion to make necessary improvements.

Photo of Mr Robert Mellish Mr Robert Mellish , Bermondsey

Under the 1964 Act authorities can compel owners to improve tenanted dwellings and areas in which there are tenanted blocks. It is true that certain tenants will not allow certain things to be done and this is a field for investigation.

Photo of Mr Frederick Corfield Mr Frederick Corfield , Gloucestershire South

Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that my hon. Friend the Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley) specifically emphasised rural districts where conditions are rather different in many cases from those with which the hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends are familiar?