14 MARCH 1958, Page 20

TENANTS AND LEASES SIR,—I suggest that one wrong conclusion was

drawn in your editorial on the Rent Act last week. As you imply, a desired effect of the Act is the creation of a free market in houses and flats to let, but the lack of a pool of empty houses and flats is irrelevant, despite' what you say. It is'not necessary for such a pool to be created for the Act to work. Statutory tenants, so called, are not ,`clinging on desperately,' simply be- cause they do not want to pay higher rents, but because (and this is the crux of the matter) they are not in fact tenants; they are merely allowed to occupy premises by Statute and have no tenancy to dispose of. Given a lease they will have something which, if they wish, they can dispose of.

In short, the thing inhibiting a free market is the paucity of marketable assets, i.e., leases, and once leases are the rule a free market will be created. Tenants will be able to dispose of their leases and acquire the leases of others.—Yours faithfully,