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BY CoUNc1LLoR W. THOMPSON, of Richmond.
­ Author of the Richmond Housing Report.
IT does not come within the scope of this paper to deal in detail
with the powers to obtain abatement of nuisances and improve-
ment of the condition of existing house accommodation under
the Public Health (London) Act, 1891, but it may be well to point
out that in order to stop the creation of future slums it will be
necessary for local authorities to properly enforce the provisions of
the Public Health Acts when this can be done without inflicting
injury upon the tenant. At present the excess of the demand for
cottages over the supply enables landlords to increase the rents to a
most disproportionate extent when any outlay is made for repairs or
sanitary purposes, and the consequence is that the tenants in many
cases are the strongest opponents to sanitary inspection and improve-
ment of these homes, because they are unable to meet the increased
demand on their scanty means. For all effective purposes the
powers of the local authorities with regard to the Housing of the
. Working Classes may be said to be contained in the Housing of the
Working Classes Act, 1890. The Act is divided into seven parts.
Part I. provides for the clearance of large uuhealthy areas (in
urban districts only) and the provision of such a number of new
dwellings as may be required by the Local Government Board
(Secs. 39 and 40). The authorities empowered to take action
under Part I. are the London County Council and all Urban
District Councils or Town Councils (ScheduleI.). It is the duty
of the Medical Oflicer of Health when he sees proper cause or when
two or more justices of the peace, or twelve or more ratepayers in
his district, complain of any unhealthy area therein to inspect such
area and make an official report thereon (Secs. 5 and 79). ,
An area may be declared unhealthy if-
(ez) It contains houses, courts or alleys unfit for human
habitation. _
(Z;) The narrowness, closeness and bad arrangement, or the
bad condition of the streets and houses, or groups of houses,‘or
« the want of air, light, ventilation, or any other sanitary defects, g
I are dangerous or injurious to the health of the inhabitants of ,
the buildings in such area of the neighbouring buildings. ,
If the Medical Officer of Health reports in writing that the area ,
,, is unhealthy the local authority must make an Improvement Scheme ‘l
to clear and rebuild. l
If he reports it is not unhealthy twelve or more ratepayers may
appeal to the Local Government Board, who, upon security for costs
being given, must appoint a duly qualitied medical practitioner to