§ Where any person after the passing of this Act lets any dwelling-house to which this Act applies or any part thereof at a rent which includes payment in respect of the use of furniture, and the rent charged yields to the lessor a profit which, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, and in particular to the margin of profit allowed under the last preceding section of this Act, is extortionate, then, without prejudice to any other remedy under this Act, the lessor shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding one hundred pounds, and the court by which he is convicted may order that the rent so far as it exceeds the amount permitted by the last preceding section of this Act shall be irrecoverable and that the amount of any such excess shall be repaid to the lessee, but any such order shall be in lieu of any other method of recovery prescribed by this Act.
§ Sir A. FELL
I beg to move, to leave out the words" one hundred" [" one hun- 1924 dred pounds"], and to insert instead thereof the word "ten."
Since the last Clause has been agreed to I can only address myself to the penalty. I think the figure of £100 should be reduced to £10. This provision has created a great deal of alarm amongst many people. They do not know how they stand or what construction may be put upon the word "extortionate." They know they are charging considerably more than in 1914, and it is a most important matter for them. I am quite sure that the moderate penalty of £10 would be quite sufficient to secure all that is required.
§ Dr. ADDISON
What is the offence to which this penalty applies? It is that, notwithstanding the profits they are allowed to make under the last Clause, they have made a profit which is extortionate in regard to the letting of furnished rooms. We have had cases submitted to us which no other word than extortionate could adequately describe. It is not a question of 25 per cent. or 40 per cent. That is not in it. There have been charges of 400 per cent. or 500 per cent.—extraordinary figures—and other monstrous things have been done. If we have limited the landlord in his increase of rent and the tenants have made three or four times the amount of the rent every week by extracting the money out of the people they take into their furnished lodgings, it is a thoroughly unjustifiable thing. We have stopped this practice on the part of the landlord and we ought to stop it on the part of the tenant. If a person has been guilty of an extortion in this way he deserves a severe penalty, and I do not propose to accept the Amendment.
§ Amendment negatived.