Clause 18 - Interpretation of enforcement provisions

Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:45 pm on 7th December 2021.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Eddie Hughes Eddie Hughes Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)

Clause 18 defines which is the appropriate tribunal for a lease of premises that is in England or in Wales. The clause also glosses the meaning of “tenant” in clauses 11 and 14, which relate to recovery orders, and in clause 17, which relates to assistance by an enforcement authority.

I should note that, in discussing the Bill, I have generally referred to “leaseholders”, rather than tenants, as that is the term that most people are familiar with in the context of a long lease. However, Members will have observed that the Bill uses the term “tenant”. The clause defines “tenant” for the enforcement clauses in the Bill, so to avoid confusion I shall refer to “tenant” in my comments on this clause.

Clause 18 has the effect that in those clauses, references to tenants include former tenants and people acting on behalf of a tenant, but not former tenants or people who have guaranteed the payment of a rent for a tenant in relation to making an application as to the effect of clause 7 on the terms of a regulated lease. That wide definition will ensure that any party that has been affected by a breach of the terms of the Bill will be able to seek redress.

The clause excludes former tenants and guarantors from the definition of tenant in clause 17(1)(b), because that provision relates to an enforcement authority helping a tenant to seek a declaration of the application of the Bill to a lease, something that will not be needed by a former tenant and cannot be actioned by a guarantor. For example, a former tenant who has sold on their interest in a property will have no need to seek a declaration as to whether a rent term in that sold-on lease should be a peppercorn. I commend the clause to the Committee.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 18 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.