London's Pulse: Medical Officer of Health reports 1848-1972

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Hampstead 1960

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Hampstead Borough]

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One of the major problems in Hampstead is that many
large and substantial houses which were built originally for single
family occupation have now been let to a number, and sometimes
a large number of families without sufficient increase in the
sanitary facilities available.
Section 36 allows a local authority to require, inter alia,
the provision of additional water supplies and additional waterclosets
but the owner is given the alternative of reducing the number of
occupants rather than providing the additional amenities. Moreover
if the owner chooses this alternative, the tenants lose their
protection under the Rent Acts. With the continued shortage of
houses in London and the considerable increases in the rents of
privately owned properties some landlords are only too anxious to
obtain vacant possession of houses or even rooms which are subject
to controlled tenancies and it is not unlikely that a notice served
under Section 36 would be used for this purpose even if the
necessary additional amenities were provided at a later date.
In these circumstances the Council would hesitate to serve
a notice which would lead to the eviction of tenants whom the
Council could not rehouse except at the expense of those already
on the waiting list.
Section 90 concerns the number of people occupying a
house and action under it would again lead to the eviction of some
tenants. The main difficulty with this Section is that action
cannot be taken until the over-occupation of the premises has
If the Housing Bill which was published in Fbruary, 1961,
becomes law in its present form it will remove these difficulties.
Loans for House Purchase and Improvement Grants
A number of houses are put in good repair and brought
up to a satisfactory standard by the operation of the Council's
scheme for granting loans for house purchase under Section 43 of
the Housing (Financial Provisions) Act, 1958. As the property
is the security for the Council's loan it is important that the
property should be put in a good state of repair, have all the
proper amenities and be maintained in a satisfactory way throughout
the term of the loan, The owners, who must also be occupiers
of at least part of the premises, are usually only too willing to
meet the requirements of the Council and to agree to a proper
occupation of those parts of the premises which are let to tenants.

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