Clause 37 - Part 3: consequential amendments

Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:30 pm on 25 January 2024.

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

Photo of Clive Efford Clive Efford Labour, Eltham

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Government amendments 125 and 126.

Schedule 8.

Government new clause 8—Appointment of manager: power to vary or discharge orders.

Photo of Lee Rowley Lee Rowley Minister of State (Minister for Housing)

Clause 37 introduces schedule 8, which concerns a number of consequential amendments to the 1985 Act and other Acts of Parliament arising from the provisions of part 3 of the Bill. We will address those consequential amendments when we come to schedule 1, and I commend the clause to the Committee.

Government amendment 125 is a consequential amendment on new clause 8, which ensures that the tribunal has the ability to vary or discharge orders it makes under leasehold legislation on its own as well as on request. Government amendment 126 clarifies that a repeal of a section in the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 is to be done in both the English and Welsh language texts of the Act. I commend those amendments to the Committee.

Schedule 8, as introduced by clause 37, sets out the consequential amendments arising from the provisions of part 3 of the Bill. Part 1 of the schedule sets out the specific consequential amendments to the 1985 Act to take account of the changes in clause 36. In many cases, it makes changes to the regulation-making powers to confirm that the Secretary of State has powers to make regulations in England, and that Welsh counterparts do in Wales. It also clarifies which regulation-making provisions in the Act are subject to the negative procedure or the affirmative procedure. Part 2 of the schedule sets out consequential amendments to other Acts of Parliament to reflect the new measures introduced by part 3 and the omission of existing measures. The schedule seeks to provide clarity on regulation-making powers and to ensure that other Acts of Parliament reflect the new measures provided in part 3 of the Bill. I commend the schedule to the Committee.

Turning to new clause 8, sections 21 to 24 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 provide a remedy for leaseholders in circumstances where there is significant management failure. Under current arrangements, leaseholders may apply to the first-tier tribunal to ask it to make an order to appoint a manager, who will be responsible for carrying out functions specified in the order rather than by the landlord or an agent acting on their behalf. The manager will be accountable to the tribunal, but once an order has been issued, the tribunal may only vary or cancel it if an interested party asks it do so. The current arrangements are, in the Government’s view, too restrictive and limit the tribunal’s authority to act if there is already an existing order in place.

New clause 8 makes a minor amendment to section 24 of the 1987 Act and gives the tribunal the ability to take action on its own as well as on request. That means that, where there is a possible overlap between orders, the tribunal can amend an existing order, if necessary, of its own accord. The discretion to amend an order will be constrained. The tribunal must be satisfied that, in all cases, any variation or discharge is just and convenient, and would not result in the recurrence of the same problems that led to the order being made in the first place. I commend new clause 8 to the Committee.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 37 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.