Ground Rents and Rent Charges

Oral Answers to Questions — Housing and Local Government – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th December 1969.

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Photo of Mr Arthur Davidson Mr Arthur Davidson , Accrington 12:00 am, 16th December 1969

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government if he will make a statement about Her Majesty's Government's policy on the abolition of ground rents and rent charges.

Photo of Mr Arthur Skeffington Mr Arthur Skeffington , Hayes and Harlington

Existing legislation enables rent charges to be redeemed on application to my right hon. Friend by the rent payer. The Leasehold Reform Act, 1967, enables certain leaseholders to buy their freeholds. The Law Commission has issued provisional proposals about rent charges for comment.

Photo of Mr Arthur Davidson Mr Arthur Davidson , Accrington

Is my hon. Friend aware that the Report of the Law Commission argues strongly, certainly in one paragraph, for the abolition of rent charges? Does he agree that ground rents, which are a particular problem in North-East Lancashire, are archaic and irritating? When will the Government take action on the Law Commission's Report?

Photo of Mr Arthur Skeffington Mr Arthur Skeffington , Hayes and Harlington

The report is being studied. There is, I believe, general agreement that this is a complex system which can sometimes be very oppressive indeed. There are difficulties about change, but we are studying the matter.

Photo of Mr Frederick Corfield Mr Frederick Corfield , Gloucestershire South

Would the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that, although there are considerable difficulties involved in getting rid of existing ground rents, there is nothing whatever to stop him from introducing legislation to prevent the creation of new ones, particularly in the Manchester and Bristol areas?