Clause 10 - Financial penalties

Part of Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:00 pm on 7 December 2021.

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Photo of Mike Amesbury Mike Amesbury Shadow Minister (Housing, Communities and Local Government) 2:00, 7 December 2021

It is a pleasure to welcome you to your place, Ms Elliott. I welcome the Minister’s and the Government’s response to some of the debates on the Bill in the other place about the maximum level of fine. Given that a number of landlords and freeholders have deep pockets, it will act as a more effective deterrent.

On multiple breaches, I am making an assumption that an element of sense will be applied, so that someone with multiple breaches would be looking at the maximum fine. I know that that will be a judgment call for the enforcement authorities and trading standards, which will be well resourced—we have had the assurance from the Minister today.

The clause picks up on several earlier points made on both sides of the Committee. It is essential that people are informed from the outset of the duties that will be not only implied but overt as a result of the Bill. Residents and leaseholders will be particularly keen to ensure that where they have been wrongly charged and levied—essentially, ground rent should never have happened in the first place—they will be able to retrieve that quickly. I welcome the clauses but there are still a number of questions for the Minister.