Committee (1st Day)

Part of Housing and Planning Bill – in the House of Lords at 4:45 pm on 9th February 2016.

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Photo of Baroness Gardner of Parkes Baroness Gardner of Parkes Conservative 4:45 pm, 9th February 2016

My Lords, I thank all those who have contributed very helpfully to the amendment and debated it. When the Minister says that she is more than keen to do things and make progress, I believe that. However, I feel there is a lack of willingness in the department. I do not say that just because she now happens to be the Minister. I had dealings with the Minister before her and with various Ministers before that. In all housing issues, I have found that there has been a reluctance to see any proper reform or progress. That is a great pity. We should probably have had a consolidation Act of all the property laws that have been passed. I have been involved in them myself since the early 1980s. All noble Lords know my registered interest, so I do not need to repeat it. Each time we pass another Act everyone working anywhere in the property world has to keep referring back to the previous Act and the Acts before that. I am told that consolidation Bills are not brought forward now because, in the past, the Law Commission used to finance them and bring them to Parliament. It will no longer do so unless Parliament agrees to finance the work that it does. This also needs a little bit of thought.

Something else that needs thought is the First-tier Tribunal. I opposed the removal of the leasehold valuation tribunal which could have dealt with the same sort of issue at a much lower cost. It is now extremely expensive. It used to be only £500. No matter what your case, more than £500 could not be awarded against you for most leasehold offences. Now, to bring your case at all, it is a minimum of £500 to walk in the door. It has changed into a much heavier legal procedure which I do not think works so well for simple cases. It has always been there and acknowledged to be necessary for the more important or serious cases. Certainly rogue landlords will come into that category. I did not speak earlier but, of course, the word “rogue” means something different to me as an Australian.

To return to the original point, I respect what the Minister has said. I hope she can persuade her department to bring these matters forward. I thank all those noble Lords who have participated and I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 1 withdrawn.

Clause 13 agreed.

Clauses 14 and 15 agreed.

Clause 16: Duration and effect of banning order

Amendment 2

Moved by Baroness Grender

2: Clause 16, page 10, line 12, at end insert—

“( ) A banning order must specify how many tenants are thought to be affected by the banning order and what arrangements will be put in place to mitigate against those tenants becoming homeless.

( ) A banning order must specify that a local authority has given due consideration to issuing a management order to ensure existing tenancies are continued, wherever possible.”