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Clause 71

Part of Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:00 am on 22nd March 2007.

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Photo of Henry Bellingham Henry Bellingham Shadow Minister (Justice) 9:00 am, 22nd March 2007

Again, it is a pleasure to be serving under your chairmanship, Mrs. Humble.

These are probing amendments and they are very simple, so I shall not detain the Committee. I wish to ask the Minister to clarify some points. Amendment No. 132 is probably the critical one in the group. Clause 71(1)(b) refers to

“any value added tax chargeable on that amount or interest”,

under which amendment No. 132 would add proposed paragraph (c), referring to

“any service charge defined under the lease.’.

The rent payable under the lease would then include any interest payable, plus value added tax, plus service charges. In some circumstances, it is fair for a landlord to be able to charge for arrears of service charge in addition to other items. Sometimes, the service charge may be dealt with on a totally different basis, but ifit is outstanding because there has been a deliberate attempt not to pay and it has been disregarded completely by the tenant, the rent should include any service charge defined under the lease.

Amendment No. 131 is a paving amendment as it would leave out “and”, while amendment No. 132 is the key amendment and Nos. 133 and 134 are basically consequential and probing amendments. I should like to hear what the Minister has to say about them  because they are important issues that have beenraised with us by a number of organisations seeking clarification.