Amendment 6

Part of Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill [HL] - Report – in the House of Lords at 3:15 pm on 20th July 2021.

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Photo of The Earl of Lytton The Earl of Lytton Crossbench 3:15 pm, 20th July 2021

My Lords, I am largely supportive of this group of amendments, particularly the one moved by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Mackay of Clashfern. It always seemed to me that some of these clauses, particularly relating to escalating ground rents, were unfair, with hidden implications that were not apparent to purchasers at the time when they were entered into. The CMA intervention is welcome but the ongoing blight continues. This is certainly an evil that causes me to support this amendment very much.

I also support Amendment 9. This seems to be a logical provision against pre-emption and creates, as I see it, greater transparency, which really should be the hallmark of landlord/tenant relationships in this area.

It is unfortunate perhaps that I am speaking before Amendment 26 has been spoken to. I see it as potentially retroactive, and think it might remove the value of an asset without fair compensation. In its specific scope, it would not distinguish between a fair and reasonable ground rent and one that was flagrantly unfair. I do not in any way defend leasehold interests as such, but if we go down this road it has much wider public interest and property law implications.

Again with Amendment 30, I would have liked to have spoken after the noble Lord, Lord Stunell, whom I believe will speak to it, but, from a technical standpoint, the question of rent is a payment that in this instance the tenant makes to the landlord for the bits of the property which exist but which are not within the tenant’s specific demise under their leasehold. It is not a service charge. Are we at risk of getting rent and services provided for rent confused—in other words, the use of property as opposed to a tangible benefit in terms of the service charge? In general, however, subject to those points, I support this group of amendments.