Clause 23 - Interpretation

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

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Photo of Eddie Hughes Eddie Hughes Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities) 3:00 pm, 7th December 2021

I beg to move amendment 7, in page 14, line 13, leave out “consideration in money or money’s worth” and insert “pecuniary consideration”

This amends the definition of a premium so that only pecuniary consideration, rather than any consideration in money or money’s worth, is included.

Government amendment 7 makes a minor technical change to clarify the definition of “premium” used in the Bill. Members who are closely watching proceedings in the other place will know that the Government amended the Bill there to make it clear that it applied only to leases where a premium was paid. That was done to ensure that the legitimate practice of longer leases on a rack or market rent could continue. This amendment is a further clarification, again in response to concerns raised in the other place by the Earl of Lytton, about the impact that the newly added definition of a premium would have on properties with a “repairing covenant”. We are talking about a relatively small number of properties where a leaseholder agrees to take on the cost of repair works in a property. That could be, for example, for the renovation or upkeep of a home. As currently drafted, the definition risks inadvertently reducing the rack rent on such properties to a peppercorn. That is not, and never has been, the intention of this legislation. We are therefore removing the words “money or money’s worth” and substituting for them the words “pecuniary consideration”. “Pecuniary consideration” is of course a much more preferable phrase, as it is broadly any consideration sounding like or expressed in terms of money. This amendment will ensure that the Bill operates as intended.