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 Mike Amesbury Mike Amesbury Shadow Minister (Housing, Communities and Local Government) 3:00 pm, 7th December 2021

Again, I welcome the intention of the clause and its various provisions and the amendment, but in relation to service charges, which relate to an earlier narrative under other clauses, there is still the potential that, as we deal with the issue of ground rents, the issue will become service charges. They are not at all transparent. We can look at managing agents, for example. They seem to be accountable to nobody other than themselves. You, Ms Elliott, or I, or anybody in this room, could set up as a management agent and tuck away some interesting so-called service charges. As I said, they are not transparent. We are absolutely clueless as to what some of them are for. An example is car-parking payments. Additional charges for that are sometimes astronomical. I think we could see those consequences that I referred to before. I gave the example of charges going up by 500% or 400% across the country as a result of this measure. We need assurances about that. I know that the Government and the Minister have tried to tighten things up, to prevent those loopholes, but assurance is needed, particularly for leaseholders out there who may be listening to our proceedings.