Clause 20 - Amendments to the Housing Act 1985

Part of Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:00 pm on 7 December 2021.

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Photo of Maria Eagle Maria Eagle Labour, Garston and Halewood 3:00, 7 December 2021

I have every sympathy with the hon. Gentleman’s plea that homeowners—leaseholders think they are homeowners, but they do not own everything—should have the right to do things such as own pets. The Minister will tell me if I am wrong, but I think that the regulations and consequential amendments that we are discussing relate only to the power to deal with landlords seeking to continue ground rent, other than peppercorn rent, in the interim period between Royal Assent to the Bill and when the regulations are brought in to commence it properly, which we understand might be in six months’ time.

Talking about these provisions is a bit like dancing on the head of a pin. I know I have been contributing significantly to that, but they apply in a very narrow range of circumstances that relate to landlords who seek to continue to charge ground rent, or put clauses into leases that come into existence after Royal Assent but before the commencement of the provision seeking to get ground rent payments from their leaseholders-to-be. We are dealing here with a very narrow range of circumstances in what one hopes would be a very short period. The Minister has suggested a period of six months until commencement. I suppose that if a landlord were then to continue to try to have leases with provision for ground rent that was other than peppercorn, these provisions could apply in those circumstances. We are talking about badly behaved landlords after the commencement of the legislation that keeps ground rent as peppercorn. Can the Minister confirm that the regulations that we are talking about do not relate to anything other than that?