Orders of the Day — Rent Bill

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th June 1965.

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As amended (in the Standing Committee), considered.

4.7 p.m.

Photo of Mr Martin Redmayne Mr Martin Redmayne , Rushcliffe

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I do not for one moment question the Chair's right of selection, but could you not reconsider your selection of Amendments in respect of Clause 27, which deals with the problem of agricultural tied cottages? This matter was not discussed at excessive length in Committee and it is of the greatest importance.

Hon. Members on this side of the House who represent agricultural constituencies could not, of course, all be on the Committee and, in any case, surely have a right to express their strong opinions on the Floor of the House. I have considered whether we could hang a reasonable debate on the Government Amendments, but I do not think that it is possible. We did put down an Amendment to leave out the Clause, but I realise that that is not very acceptable on Report.

Therefore, last night I put down Amendment No. 120 on a particular and important point, in page 17, line 12, to leave out paragraph (c) and to insert: (c) whether suspension of the execution of the order or its execution without suspension or further suspension would cause greater hardship to the occupier, or to the owner or to a person whom the owner employs or intends to employ and for whose occupancy he requires the premises. I assure the Minister that it is not our intention to try to delay the proceedings of the Bill. I do not want to delay its consideration now, but I am speaking for a useful and informed minority in the House. I ask you, Sir, to consider selecting Amendment No. 120.

Photo of Sir Harry Hylton-Foster Sir Harry Hylton-Foster , Cities of London and Westminster

I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman. In the intervals of other things going on in the small hours this morning, I read columns 833 to 896 of the OFFICIAL REPORT Of the Standing Committee, which were particularly concerned with this matter. The right hon. Gentleman is very persuasive. I will relent and select Amendment No. 120.

Perhaps I may now discuss with the House how we are to deal with the early matters in our proceedings. The first two new Clauses seem to me to be rather close together, as it were, and perhaps it would be best to have a general discussion on new

(1) Where a dwelling-house is held for the purpose of being available for occupation by a minister of religion as a residence from which to perform the duties of his office and the dwelling-house has been let on a regulated tenancy, then if—
a) the tenant has been given notice in writing before the commencement of the tenancy (or, if the tenancy was created before the commencement of this Act, not later than six months after the commencement of this Act) that possession may be recovered under this section; and
(b) apart from the Rent Acts the landlord would be entitled to recover possession of the dwelling-house; and
(c) the court is satisfied that the dwelling-house is required for occupation by a minister of religion as such a residence;
the court shall make an order for the possession of the dwelling-house, whether or not it would have power to do so under section 3 of the Act of 1933, and section 5(2) of the Act of 1920 shall not apply in relation to the order.
(2) In the application of this section to Scotland for any reference to a minister of religion there shall be substituted a reference to a minister or full-time lay missionary of any religious denomination.

and new Clause No. 11—Recovery of possession of house acquired for retirement:

(1) Where a person who has acquired a dwelling-house for his residence in anticipation of his retirement (in this section referred to as the owner) has thereafter let the dwelling-house on a regulated tenancy and the conditions mentioned in subsection (2) of this section are satisfied, then if—
(a) apart from the Rent Acts the landlord would be entitled to recover possession of the dwelling-house; and
(b) the court is satisfied that the dwelling-house is required as a residence for the owner and that the owner has retired;
the court shall make an order for possession of the dwelling-house whether or not it would have the power to do so under section 3 of the Act of 1933.
(2) The said conditions are—
(a) that not later than the commencement of the tenancy (or if the tenancy was created before the commencement of this Act, not later than six months after the commencement of this Act) the landlord has given notice in writing to the tenant that possession may be recovered under this section; and
(b) that the dwelling-house has not since the commencement of this Act been let on a regulated tenancy with respect to which the condition mentioned in paragraph (a) of this subsection was not satisfied.
(3) For the purposes of this section the definition of retirement shall be that the person complies with the conditions laid down in section 20(2)(a) of the National Insurance Act 1946.

Photo of Mr Harold Walker Mr Harold Walker , Doncaster

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. What considerations guided you in your omission of Amendment No. 121? It stands in my name and the names of some of my hon. Friends and is in page 33, line 17, at the end to insert: (10) Where disrepair has been taken into account in the determination and registration of a fair rent in accordance with paragraph 8(a) of this Schedule the rent officer shall serve upon the landlord a direction to carry out such repairs as are necessary to put the dwelling into good repair within such period as the rent officer may deem appropriate, such period not to exceed one hundred and twenty days from the date of issue of the direction.(11) Should the landlord fail to comply with the requirements of the last foregoing paragraph the registered rent shall be decreased progressively by ten per cent. calculated to the

Clause No. 1 together with new Clause No. 2—Recovery of possession of dwelling-house held for occupation by minister of religion:

nearest whole penny, for each calendar month following the expiration of the direction, such decrease continuing until either the rent is nil, or such time as the landlord has completed the repairs specified in the direction, such completion being notified to the rent officer in writing and confirmed by the rent officer by visual examination, or by such visual examination as he has caused to take place to his satisfaction.

(12) Any loss of rent incurred by the landlord arising from the application of the last foregoing paragraph shall not be subsequently recoverable by the landlord.

Photo of Sir Harry Hylton-Foster Sir Harry Hylton-Foster , Cities of London and Westminster

I am sorry to disappoint the hon. Gentleman, but practice reveals that the Chair is very ill-advised to start explaining its reasons for selection. If the hon. Gentleman will acquit me of discourtesy, I do not propose to do it.

Photo of Mr Harold Walker Mr Harold Walker , Doncaster

As a relative newcomer, may I have your guidance about the procedure in this matter, Mr. Speaker? When hon. Members have in mind considerations which they seek to put into legislation, they obviously seek to catch your eye on Second Reading, as I did without success. They may then try to be a member of the Standing Committee concerned so as to bring these matters to the notice of the Committee. But if, having failed to secure a place on the Standing Committee, they are also unable to bring the matter forward at this stage, they are excluded from presenting their arguments. If that is to happen without explanation, the individual hon. Member would seem to be impotent in this respect.

Photo of Sir Harry Hylton-Foster Sir Harry Hylton-Foster , Cities of London and Westminster

That may be, but if one selected all the Amendments without making some choice we should have a formidable burden to get through and I doubt whether any Government could manage what they have to do. That is why one has to make these selections. I assure the hon. Gentleman that none of these decisions is made save with the greatest care and anxiety and the maximum consultation. We try to get the answer right, but it is impossible to oblige everybody and to get the task performed.

Photo of Mr John Boyd-Carpenter Mr John Boyd-Carpenter , Kingston upon Thames

May I revert to your indication of the appropriate way to handle the earlier Clauses, Mr. Speaker? I would be grateful if you would clarify what you have in mind. Is it your intention that we should discuss new Clauses No. 1 and No. 2 and No. 11 and have a Division on new Clause No. 11 at the appropriate stage, if that is desired? Secondly, what do you have in mind about the Amendments to new Clause No. 1 and to new Clause No. 2?

Those Amendments are to the new Clause No. 1, in line 2, leave out "on a regulated tenancy";

Leave out lines 10 and 11 and insert: the letting shall not create a regulated tenancy but shall create a tenancy which shall be a protected tenancy within the meaning of section 28 of this Act"; In line 20, at end add: (3) The provisions of this section shall apply to a person owning a dwelling-house which he intends to occupy as his sole residence, or to provide as the sole residence of his widow or of one or more of his children provided that—

  1. (a) he registers his intention on a registry to be maintained by the Minister,
  2. (b) only one such registration may be made by any person, and
  3. (c) any dwelling-house of which the owner recovers possession in accordance with this subsection and which is subsequently relet shall not come under the provisions of this section.
In new Clause No. 2, in line 3, leave out "on a regulated tenancy";

Leave out lines 12 and 13 and insert: the letting shall not create a regulated tenancy but shall create a tenancy which shall be a protected tenancy within the meaning of section 28 of this Act". I do not know whether you think that it would be a good idea to discuss the Amendments, after we have dealt with the Clauses themselves, in a debate picking up all five Amendments.

Photo of Sir Harry Hylton-Foster Sir Harry Hylton-Foster , Cities of London and Westminster

That is right. I think that we should have a general debate on new Clauses Nos. 1, 2 and 11 and the Amendments to new Clauses Nos. 1 and 2. It will probably be best to have a general debate on the whole lot. As for calling new Clause No. 11 for a Division, I will wait to see what happens to new Clause No. 1, because the problem might not arise.

Photo of Mr John Boyd-Carpenter Mr John Boyd-Carpenter , Kingston upon Thames

I was not quite sure whether it was your intention to have one discussion on the Amendments to new Clauses Nos. 1 and No. 2 and the new Clauses.

Photo of Sir Harry Hylton-Foster Sir Harry Hylton-Foster , Cities of London and Westminster

If I may use the description without offence, I think that we should have a sort of Second Reading debate on all this topic and then I will call the right hon. Gentleman's Amendment to new Clause No. 1 for a decision in due course.

Photo of Sir Harry Hylton-Foster Sir Harry Hylton-Foster , Cities of London and Westminster

I think that those are the same and would necessarily fall with the Amendments to new Clause No. 1.

Photo of Mr John Boyd-Carpenter Mr John Boyd-Carpenter , Kingston upon Thames

With respect, I do not think so, Sir. They put the same proposition in respect of the different subject matter of the two new Clauses.

Photo of Sir Harry Hylton-Foster Sir Harry Hylton-Foster , Cities of London and Westminster

I will not waste time about it. Should the right hon. Gentleman so desire, I will call the Amendments to new Clause No. 2 for a Division, if that is required, after our general