15 APRIL 1938, Page 21

RENT RESTRICTIONS [To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR] SIR, — Referring to

the Reports of the Committee appointed to consider the above, and the Bill now before Parliament, it will be very unfair and a grave injustice if, through the scarcity of houses of Class " C," those persons who have provided that class are alone to be further penalised because of the scarcity, for a period in all of from 25 to 33 years.

The 4o per cent. increase allowed under the existing Acts on the net or standard rent, only means r per cent., or even less, to the owners on the cost or capital value, and while some restriction should continue, further amelioration should now be given to meet the large increase in the cost of repairs through the rise in labour and materials on account of the rearmament programme, as has been granted to the railways ; either a reasonable rise in the rents, or as an alternative Income Tax should not be charged on this class of house during the further period of restriction on account of the continued scarcity.

The treatment of owners of small house property, much of which is kept in excellent order and only reasonable rents charged, does not encourage people to build or invest in such houses, hence the scarcity.

If owners were not compelled to accept less than the true market rental value for their houses, as tradesmen do not have to do for their goods, they would be able to spend much more on the houses and there would be less slums, and therefore less expenditure of public money for new houses.

The increase allowed under the existing Acts for repairs is exceeded in the cost of these at ordinary regular prices, and will be much more so with the recent additional rises in labour and materials. Restriction should still continue but a slight increase in rental be permitted.—Yours faithfully, A. H. BARR.

Lingay, Overbury Road, Parkstone, Dorset.