§ "Where any dwelling-house to which the principal Acts apply and of which the rateable value on the appointed day did not exceed thirteen pounds is required by the landlord for occupation as a residence for some person engaged in his whole-time employment, or in the whole-time employment of some tenant from him or with whom, conditional on housing accommodation being provided, a contract for such employment has been entered into and the person for whose occupation the dwelling-house is required by the landlord is, or is to be, employed on work necessary for the proper working of an agricultural estate, notice in writing may be served upon the tenant by or on behalf of the landlord specifying the date on which the tenant is required to give up possession of the dwelling-house, and thereupon the principal Acts shall cease to apply to that dwelling-house, unless the court upon the application of the tenant made within seven days after the service of such notice is satisfied that the foregoing provisions of this section have not been complied with or are not applicable in respect of the dwelling-house."1403
§ 12.13 a.m.
Sir H. YOUNG
I beg to move, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."
As this Amendment deals with the only point of substance which arises on the Lords Amendments to this Bill it calls for rather careful explanation. What we are concerned with here are the circumstances in which a landlord or owner can get possession of a typical agricultural cottage, for an agricultural or estate worker, without showing alternative accommodation. Under the existing law, which is being re-enacted, an owner can get possession and always has been able to get possession, without proving alternative accommodation, if he requires the house for a person in his whole-time employment, and if the former tenant was in his whole-time employment, or, if the labour of the new tenant is necessary for the working of an agricultural holding, on condition that he gets a certificate that the labour is thus necessary, from the county agricultural committee. That was the general law.
When we were dealing with this matter on the passage of the present Bill through the Committee stage, I accepted a new Clause, moved by the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. M. Beaumont), which had the effect of making it easier for the owner of an estate to get possession of a cottage where it was necessary for an estate worker or an agricultural worker. That Clause only applied to cottages with a recoverable rent of not more than 2s. 6d. That figure we have now altered to 3s. Other conditions were that the existing tenant was protected, and that after recovery of the cottage the rent remained controlled. The Clause gives a wide extension of the power—the useful power—of the owner of an estate or farm to get possession of a cottage needed for a worker. To that there has been added in another place a Clause which gives a very much wider extension. This extension, I suggest, is much too big. The Clause added applies to practically all "C" class houses. The original extension rightly applied to agricultural cottages only. The Clause as added applies even to the existing tenant, which is contrary to the provisions of the Bill all through. Further, the consequence of the Clause added is to give the landlord the right not only to 1404 the occupation of the house, but to remove completely all restrictions on rent.
Finally, and this is the most criticisable feature of the Clause added, it places on the tenant the whole onus of showing that the cottage is not necessary to the working of an agricultural holding and gives the landlord power to recover possession without proving any necessity at all. I do not think it is reasonable, in dealing with agricultural tenancies thus to shift the whole onus on to the tenant. This Clause offends against the cardinal principles of the Bill. There was, however, a strong argument raised on the question of practical necessity, that the existing law should cover not only persons whose work is necessary for the working of the holding, but other persons on the estate. As I believe that case to have been made out, I propose to deal with the practical need in another manner, which I trust will prove satisfactory to those who moved the insertion of this Clause in the Lords. I propose to make an addition to the schedule which will have the effect of making it a statutory provision, that the provision in the Schedule under which possession can be got with a certificate from the county agricultural committee, shall apply not only to the worker on the agricultural holding, but also to the estate worker, artisan, carpenter, and so on. The actual words that I shall move will be in the first Schedule, in page 13, line 36, at the end, to insert the words:or as an estate workman on the maintenance and repair of buildings, plant or equipment on agricultural holdings comprised in the estate".
§ Question, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment", put, and agreed to.
§ Subsequent Lords Amendments, to page 13, line 17, agreed to.