Clause 3 - When title may be registered

Part of Land Registration Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:30 am on 11 December 2001.

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Photo of Michael Wills Michael Wills Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, Parliamentary Secretary (Lord Chancellor's Department) 10:30, 11 December 2001

I understand the hon. Gentleman's concerns, but the Bill's general approach is based on the principle that it is desirable to register timeshare leases of whatever length. They impose a significant burden, and unless registered they can be difficult to discover. People inspecting the affected land may not become aware of such leases if they inspect during a non-timeshare week or any other such period. Registration will also benefit owners of timeshare leases by giving them the protection of the state guarantee, and by making it easier and cheaper to deal with their land. The Bill therefore provides that a timeshare lease of any length granted out of unregistered land may be registered, and that one granted out of registered land must be registered.

In the case of timeshare leases granted out of unregistered land, including leases by the Crown out of demesne land, compulsory registration of such leases, or of relevant assignments, applies when there is more than seven years to run. That exception to the general approach is made because the same provisions that apply to the vast majority of unregistered leases ought to apply to such timeshare leases. That approach retains simplicity, which should assist legal practitioners and citizens.

I fully understand the hon. Gentleman's desire not to clog up the registers of titles with many entries for discontinuous leases. I hope, however, that I can reassure the Committee that there is little prospect of that. First, registration will fulfil a fundamental objective of the Bill by making available as much information as possible about a title through inspection of the register. Secondly, timeshare leases are comparatively rare. Thirdly, and most importantly, the length of a discontinuous lease is calculated by totalling the number of periods of occupation to which it entitles the leaseholder. For example, a three-year lease which gives the right to occupy the property for one month in 12 will cover a period of 36 years. Finally, a timeshare lease for seven years or less when the discontinuous periods are added together can be protected by a caution against first registration.

One effect of amendment No. 19 would that where there was such a lease and the discontinuous periods were to end after more than 14 years, the lease could not be so protected. We believe that the balance struck by the Bill as it stands is better, as the same provision applies to all unregistered leases.

I hope that that explanation provides some comfort to the hon. Gentleman and that he will feel able to withdraw the amendment.