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Artisans Dwellings

house, authority, local, habitation, scheme, condition, thereof and human

ARTISANS' DWELLINGS have been made the subject of a consoli dating Act, called the Housing of the Working Classes Act, 1890, which has now been extended by two further schedules of 1900 and 1903. Un healthy areas.--A local authority, on being satisfied of the unhealthiness of a district, may make a scheme for its improvement. Such unhealthiness would arise in the case of (a) any houses, courts, or alleys being unfit for human habitation ; or (b) the health of the inhabitants or neighbours being threatened in consequence of the narrowness, closeness, and bad arrangement, or the bad condition of the streets and houses, or groups of houses, within a certain area. Also in consequence of the want of light, air, ventilation, or proper conveniences, or•any other sanitary defects therein. The authority may then, having prepared its scheme, give notice to the owners of the property, stating that the same is to be taken compulsorily for the purpose of improvement. When the scheme has been confirmed by the Local Govern ment Board, the authority may proceed to its execution, including therein the buyi-ag out compulsorily of the owners Provision of accommodation for the displaced.—Before the scheme will be confirmed, the Board will require to be satisfied that equally convenient accommodation can be provided for the working-classes displaced by the scheme. This accommodation must not be within or in the neighbourhood of the unhealthy area. Regard will be had to the number of artisans and others of the working-classes dwelling within the area and being employed within a mile thereof. If twelve or more rate payers have complained to the medical officer of the district with regard to the alleged unhealthiness of an area, and such medical officer has disregarded the complaint, and representations thereof are made to the Local Government Board, an inquiry into the complaints may be ordered. Acquisition of land. —As we have already seen, the local authority may give notice to owners of unhealthy property of an intention to purchase compulsorily. If no agree ment can be conic to with regard to the compensation orpurchase-money, an assessment thereof may be made by an arbitrator. In making such assessment due regard must be paid to the nature and condition of the property, and the probable duration of the buildings in their existing state, and to the state of repair thereof. But in such an assessment any addition to or improvement of the property made after the date of advertisement of the scheme by the local authority shall not be included. The arbitrator may also take into consideration the fact, where it exists, that any house has obtained an enhanced rental by .season of being used for illegal purposes, or

of overcrowding, and that such house was in such a defective condition as to be a nuisance, or unfit for human habitation. Unhealthy dwelling houses being unfit for human habitation, and so represented to be, either by a medical ollicer of health or four or more neighbouring householders, may be ordered to be closed and demolished. Certain notices must be first given to the ow ncr, affording him an opportunity to remedy the defects and render the house fit for habitation. If the ow ner does not himself close and demolish the house, the local authority may do so itself. The owner of such a house being aggrieved at the notice may appeal to a Court of Quarter Sessions. In the same way obstructive buildings may be closed and de molished. a local authority wishes to purchase existing lodging-houses for the working-classes, or erect upon any land acquired or appropriated by buildings suitable for such lodging-houses, the above Act may be adopted by such local authority. It may then purchase or erect lodging-houses, manage theni itself, and make for the regulation thereof; and if they are found to be too expensive to maintain, may sell them. A tenant or occupier of such a lodging-house will be disqualified to cool i nue as such on receipt of parochial relief, except temporarily on account of accident or illness. The law on this subject applies equally to Scotland. very important provision is in cluded in the Housing and Tow n Planning Act, 1909. It is that in any contract made after the passing of that Act, for letting for habitation a house, or part of a house, there shall be implied a condition that tie house is, at the com mencement of the tenancy, in all respects fit for human habitation, and that the landlord will keep it so. To come a ithin this provision, the house or part of a house must be let at a rent not exceeding: in London, 240 ; in a borough or urban district with a population according to the last census for the time being of 50,000 or upwards, 226 ; elsewhere 216. This condition does not apply, however, where the premises are let for a term of three years or more upon,the terms that the lessee put them into a condition reasonably fit for occupation, and the lease is not determinable at the option of either party before the expiration of that term. By reason of this provision a tenant would have. a right to sue his landlord for damages in respect of injuries caused by the premises not being reasonably fit for human habitation.