Clause 5 - Power to extend section 4

Part of Land Registration Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:30 am on 11 December 2001.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Bill Cash Bill Cash Shadow Attorney General 11:30, 11 December 2001

That is a valid point, but it would be better put to the Minister.

The other amendments are designed to prevent the rule-making power being used to introduce compulsory registration of five-year and shorter leases without further parliamentary consideration. Five-year leases are, indeed, common. They are usually occupational, business, residential or farming leases and are not assigned anything like as frequently as longer interests. There is no pressing practical need to register them, either to ensure that the purchaser and the superior interest find out about them, or to make it easier to buy and sell them.

Not only are five-year and shorter leases predominantly granted to tenants for their own occupation throughout the term and rarely assigned or under-let, the tenant holds all the documentation relevant to the assignee or under-tenant and would still do so were the lease registered. The benefits of registration to the parties would be small.

The Government said in Committee in the other place that registration of short leases would enable information to be collected that would be useful in creating transparency in the market. Even if it is accepted that there is a connected purpose in the long title of the Bill, making tenants register and pay fees for the privilege in furtherance of what the Government present as a general public interest would amount to levying tax. If it is permissible to comment on that, I suggest that that would be an unreasonable tax.