Clause 14 - Security of tenure: anti-social behaviour

Anti-social Behaviour Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 5:15 pm ar 13 Mai 2003.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Tony McNulty Tony McNulty Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister 5:15, 13 Mai 2003

I beg to move amendment No. 226, in

clause 14, page 13, line 6, at end insert—

'(d) it is also a term of the demoted tenancy that any rent paid in advance or overpaid at the termination of the secure tenancy is credited to the tenant's liability to pay rent under the demoted tenancy.

Photo of Mr Bill O'Brien Mr Bill O'Brien Llafur, Normanton

With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendments Nos. 227 to 229.

Photo of Tony McNulty Tony McNulty Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

The purpose of amendments Nos. 226 and 228 is to ensure that any rent that a secure or assured tenant has paid in advance before demotion is credited to their new rent account under the demoted or demoted assured shorthold tenancy. There is already a provision in the Bill to ensure that any rent arrears are debited from the new rent account. It is only right and proper that any rent paid in advance is treated appropriately.

The purpose of amendments Nos. 227 and 229 is to clarify to both landlord and demoted tenants the terms of the demoted or demoted assured shorthold tenancy. Amendment No. 227 relates to secure tenancies and amendment No. 229 to assured tenancies.

New section 82A(4A)(a) to (d) to the Housing Act 1985 ensures that the names on the tenancy agreement, the period of the tenancy, the rent payable and the date when the rent is payable are the same for the demoted tenancy as for the secure tenancy. New section 6A(4A)(a) to (d) to the Housing Act 1988 ensures that these things are the same for a demoted assured shorthold tenancy as for the assured tenancy that it replaces.

Most tenancies run from one period to the next and last indefinitely. Some social landlords let properties for a fixed period only, after which the tenancy ends. New sections 82A(4B) and 9A(4B)to the 1985 Act ensure that fixed term tenancies become weekly periodic tenancies on demotion. That allows landlords to end such tenancies as easily as any other demoted tenancy.

Some social landlords have terms set out in their secure or assured tenancies that they will also want to apply to their demoted or demoted assured shorthold tenancies. For example, a local authority may make it a term of its tenancy agreement that tenants should not cause nuisance or annoyance to any council staff. New sections 82A(4C) and 6A(4C) ensure that if a landlord wants to apply some express terms from the secure or assured tenancy into the demoted or demoted assured shorthold tenancy, he can do so by serving a statement of terms on the tenant.

These are important issues that, in the overall context of the clauses on housing, are relatively technical. I hope that the Committee accepts the amendments.

Amendment agreed to.

Photo of James Paice James Paice Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

I beg to move amendment No. 103, in

clause 14, page 13, line 8, leave out 'or visiting'.

Photo of Mr Bill O'Brien Mr Bill O'Brien Llafur, Normanton

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Amendment No. 217, in

clause 14, page 13, line 12, at end insert—

'( ) that where an injunction under section 153A or 153B has already been granted, its terms have been breached or, where no such

injunction has been obtained, it was not an appropriate or available remedy to the landlord, and'.

Amendment No. 218, in

clause 14, page 13, line 13, at end insert—

'(4A) A demotion order may contain provisions for the landlord to provide support and rehabilitation services to the tenant or a person residing in or visiting the dwellinghouse who has engaged or has threatened to engage in conduct to which section 153A or 153B of the Housing Act 1996 (antisocial behaviour or use of premises for immoral or unlawful purposes) applies.'.

Amendment No. 104, in

clause 14, page 13, line 38, leave out 'or visiting'.

Amendment No. 219, in

clause 14, page 13, line 42, at end insert—

'( ) that where an injunction under section 153A or 153B has already been granted, its terms have been breached or, where no such injunction has been obtained, it was not an appropriate or available remedy to the landlord, and'.

Amendment No. 220, in

clause 14, page 13, line 43, at end insert—

'(4A) A demotion order may contain provisions for the landlord to provide support and rehabilitation services to the tenant or a person residing in or visiting the dwellinghouse who has engaged or has threatened to engage in conduct to which section 153A or 153B of the Housing Act 1996 (antisocial behaviour or use of premises for immoral or unlawful purposes) applies.'.

Amendment No. 222, in

schedule 1, page 43, line 2, leave out 'of the dwellinghouse' and insert 'under section 143E'.

Amendment No. 223, in

schedule 1, page 43, leave out lines 39 and 40 and insert—

'(2) The court must make an order for possession under this section if it is satisfied—

(a) that the tenant or a person residing in or visiting the dwelling house has engaged or threatened to engage in conduct to which section 153A or 153B of the Housing Act 1996 (antisocial behaviour or use of premises for immoral or unlawful purposes) applies, and

(b) the procedure under sections 143E and 143F has been followed.'.

Amendment No. 233, in

schedule 1, page 43, line 40, at end insert

'and it is not reasonable to make the order.'.

Amendment No. 238, in

schedule 1, page 43, line 39, leave out subsection (2) and insert—

'(2) The court shall not make an order for possession unless—

(a) the procedures under sections 143E and 143F have been followed; and

(b) the court considers it reasonable to make the order.'.

Amendment No. 237, in

schedule 1, page 44, line 3, after 'unless', insert—

'(a) the grounds of possession are related to antisocial behaviour since the demotion order;

(b) the landlord has made attempts to resolve the problem of antisocial behaviour with the tenant and any family by liasing with other agencies if necessary; and

(c) .'.

Amendment No. 234, in

schedule 1, page 44, line 3, after 'unless', insert—

'(a) the grounds for possession are related to antisocial behaviour;

(b) the landlord has made attempts to resolve the problem of antisocial behaviour with the tenant and any family by liaising with other agencies if necessary; and'.

Amendment No. 224, in

schedule 1, page 49, line 20, at end insert—

'( ) In section 84 (grounds and orders for possession) after subsection (4) there is inserted the following—

''(5) For the purposes of this section—

(a) secure tenancies include demoted tenancies with the meaning of section 143A of the Housing Act 1996;

(b) secure tenants include demoted tenants within the meaning of that section.''.'.

Amendment No. 221, in

clause 15, page 14, line 27, at end insert—

'( ) In the Housing Act 1988 (c.50) at the end of section 21 there is inserted the following subsection—

(8) No order for possession under subsection (1) or (4) may be made in relation to a dwellinghouse let on a tenancy to which section 20B above applies unless the court is satisfied that the tenant or a person residing in or visiting the dwelling house has engaged or threatened to engage in conduct to which section 153A or 153B of the Housing Act 1996 (antisocial behaviour or use of premises for immoral or unlawful purposes) applies.'.

Photo of James Paice James Paice Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

Amendments Nos. 103, 104 and 234 stand in my name and that of my hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath. Amendments Nos. 103 and 104 are straightforward. We simply wish to ask the Minister what ''visiting'' means. The clause says that the

''court must not make a demotion order unless it is satisfied—

(a) that the tenant or a person residing in or visiting the dwelling-house''

engaged in the conduct. These are probing amendments to establish whether visiting means making a pre-arranged visit, visiting at the invitation of the tenant or perhaps visiting speculatively, such as cold-calling. We need a definition.

The most important amendment in the group is amendment No. 234, which has been tabled as a result of discussions with the Law Society and with Shelter, which the hon. Member for Ludlow mentioned earlier. The concern is that, having secured a demotion order, the landlord may obtain possession of the property through the fast-track system that a demotion order allows for something that has nothing to do with antisocial behaviour.

The amendment makes the reasonable proposal that if somebody is committing antisocial behaviour under the terms of the clause and the landlord obtains a demotion order for that reason and the tenant continues to commit that ''offence'' of antisocial behaviour, it is perfectly reasonable for the landlord to use the fast-track system of possession that is allowed by the demotion order; if, however, the tenant then does something entirely different, it seems unjust that the fast-track system should necessarily apply. I hope that the Minister is able to explain why the provision is as broad as it is. It seems that once the tenancy is changed to a demoted tenancy, the landlord does not have to offer much of a reason to gain possession. That is wholly wrong. Amendment No. 234 would ensure that the reason for possession is related to antisocial behaviour.

According to the clause, the court can consider only the mechanics of how the landlord sought the possession order rather than the reasons for it. The Law Society strongly supports the approach behind the amendment. Demotion will make it easier to evict tenants and will encourage eviction with little or no proper investigation. The key point is that once a demotion order is obtained, the court will have to evict the tenant at a later hearing as long as the landlord has issued a notice in the correct form and provided a review of the decision to issue the notice if the tenant requests such a review. In other words, the landlord simply has to follow a mechanical process rather than offer a reason for taking possession. The Law Society says that that is a disproportionate measure that could particularly affect vulnerable people, such as those with mental health problems.

The question is whether the power or ability to obtain possession should be restricted to antisocial behaviour or whether, as it appears in the Bill, it can be for any reason once a demotion order has been obtained. I moved amendment No. 103, which is the lead amendment, but I am particularly concerned about amendment No. 234.

Photo of Mr Matthew Green Mr Matthew Green Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol, Ludlow

The Liberal Democrats have numerous amendments under clause 14. Members of the Committee will be delighted to hear that they make up our last big block of the day, and I hope that they will bear with me as I deal with them.

Amendments Nos. 217 and 219 go together. They would ensure that the powers in the Bill to demote tenancies are used only as a last resort and that demotion orders are granted only if injunctions have failed or are not appropriate, thus promoting a clearer, more proportionate response. To ensure a consistent approach in the Bill, amendment No. 217 applies to secure tenancies and amendment No. 219 to assured tenancies.

Likewise, amendments Nos. 218 and 220 go together. They would give the court discretion to include the provision of support and rehabilitation as part of the conditions of a demotion order. I stress the point that the court would have discretion to do so—it does not have to. The court may decide that it would be appropriate to instruct that there should be some support and rehabilitation to enable tenants to address their behaviour and improve their chances of sustaining their tenancy. Amendment No. 218 applies to secure tenancies and amendment No. 220 to assured tenancies.

The thinking behind the amendments is very much a result of the success of two schemes: the Dundee families project and the Shelter inclusion project, both of which have been very successful in showing how support and rehabilitation can be successful in addressing behaviour. It is perhaps worth spending a short time considering the Dundee families project.

In stark contrast to the lack of evidence that evicting people changes their behaviour, the indications so far are that resettlement schemes work. The Dundee families project is a residential

scheme that works intensively with families with behavioural problems. It has helped 80 families, none of whom have been evicted since leaving the scheme, despite the fact that many of them had been evicted several times before and had not previously managed to change their behaviour. The evaluation of the project also shows that it has widespread backing in the local area and represents extremely good value for money. As a result of that, similar new schemes are being set up. We seek to give the courts discretion in demoting tenancy to decide that such a scheme, where appropriate, might be a suitable way of dealing with the matter. That would be entirely at the discretion of the court.

Amendments Nos. 221, 222, 223 and 224 aim to ensure that fast-track eviction procedures available for demoted tenancies could not be used for any other reason other than for further antisocial behaviour. There are similarities between our amendments and those of the Conservatives. Amendment No. 221 relates to registered social landlord tenants who previously had assured tenancies. Amendments Nos. 222, 223 and 224 relate to local authority tenants who previously had secured tenancies.

We must be aware that demoted tenancies are similar to introductory tenancies, which are used by local authorities, and to starter tenancies, used by registered social landlords. There is little evidence to support the effectiveness of introductory tenancies in tackling antisocial behaviour. Research conducted by the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions in 2001 found that most possession orders against introductory tenants were prompted by rent arrears, rather than antisocial behaviour. Rent arrears were the main grounds for possession in nearly 90 per cent. of actions against introductory tenants.

Shelter has collated some information on that. One authority in south-west England served notice in more than 300 cases, 96.5 per cent. of which were for rent arrears. In one case, the tenant—a single parent in low-paid work—faced mandatory possession action because of less than £200 of rent arrears. We are concerned that the eviction process could be fast-tracked because someone with a demoted tenancy owes £100 in rent. A tenant might already be subject to a demoted tenancy when—crash, bang, wallop—even though they are no longer acting in an antisocial way, they are evicted.

The final group of amendments in the name of my party are amendments Nos. 237 and 238. Amendment No. 237 is almost identical to the Conservatives' amendment No. 234, with one proviso. In our amendment, the antisocial behaviour must occur after the demoted tenancy order was issued. We are trying to ensure that tenants are evicted from their property as a result only of further antisocial behaviour, occurring after the tenancy has been demoted. I assume that that is the Government's intention. It is simply a clarification, and amendment No. 234 is largely the same. I hope that the Government can offer some reassurances in those areas.

Photo of Tony McNulty Tony McNulty Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

Although I understand much of what has been said by both hon. Gentlemen, we have to

resist the amendments because the outcome of their acceptance would be to water down the effect of a demoted tenancy. That goes back to the heart of today's sitting, when we discussed actions having consequences and understanding those consequences.

The amendments would make it more difficult and more bureaucratic to obtain a demotion order in the first place. They would increase the level of security of a demoted tenancy, but demotion is not a soft option. As well as a warning and an incentive to behave, it is a real sanction. The tenant, through his or her actions, has lost security and that may have serious consequences. Tenants should understand that when they are considering how to behave in the first place. They should be made fully aware that there are consequences to their actions.

All Committee members will know that one of the most galling aspects of antisocial behaviour is the way in which the perpetrators often believe that they can get away with whatever they want to do. The amendments should be strongly resisted not only in terms of law, but in terms of message.

Photo of Annette Brooke Annette Brooke Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

I wanted to explore what the Minister said about the amendments watering down the provision. Does introducing support measures at the same time as introducing a strong measure water that measure down? I think that it makes it stronger.

Photo of Tony McNulty Tony McNulty Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

It waters down the notion of demoted tenancies as a sanction. As I said, in terms of the overall policies, procedure and guiding strategies, of course there must be a preventive dimension as well as a retributive dimension. Demoted tenancies in the first instance are intended to be a sanction; the amendments move away from the relative strength of that sanction, which is why we shall resist them.

Amendments Nos. 103, 104, 217 and 219 would restrict the circumstances in which a demotion order can be made. Amendments Nos. 103 and 104 would prevent demotion orders being granted if the antisocial behaviour was caused by a visitor. Clearly, that would be out of line with possession actions on the grounds of anti-social behaviour. Social landlords can and do obtain outright possession when antisocial behaviour is caused by visitors. Tenants have a clear responsibility for the behaviour of their visitors.

I half took the point to which the hon. Member for South-East Cambridgeshire referred, but whether the visit is pre-arranged and by appointment or someone simply comes in off the street, the tenant is responsible the actions of the visitor. I ask the Committee not to tempt me down this line because I shall struggle, but other parts of the law pertain to uninvited visitors who, by definition, are not visitors. ''Visitor'' means what it says and the meaning is unusually clear in the law. Possession orders can already be obtained and there is no justification for following a different line here.

Amendments Nos. 217 and 219 would prevent the courts from granting a demotion order if an injunction was in place and had not been breached or if the landlord had failed to apply for an injunction in appropriate circumstances. That would limit the

landlord's discretion to choose between two effective remedies for antisocial behaviour and prevent the landlord from using a mix-and-match approach.

Demotion orders and injunctions are intended to be free-standing options, which the social landlord will be able to use separately or together, depending on what is most appropriate in the circumstances. It may often be a good idea for landlords to seek injunctions before taking other action, but in cases of persistent antisocial behaviour a demotion order may be more appropriate than an injunction. It would not be helpful for landlords or those suffering from antisocial behaviour if the power to obtain demotion orders were restricted in that way.

Amendments Nos. 218 and 220 link too closely the provision of support with the demotion order. As I said, it is good practice for landlords to offer appropriate support to those affected by antisocial behaviour as well as to those who perpetrate it. As well as giving the tenant and landlord the opportunity for rehabilitation work, the demotion order is an attractive proposition for landlords because it ensures swift action if the behaviour is not addressed. Tying any support to the order may, however, lead to unforeseen complexities. For example, if the landlord did not have a complete support package in place at the time of seeking an order, would the courts refuse to grant that order? If the landlord had not provided support in the method stated in the demotion order, could that be a reason for the tenant to challenge any subsequent eviction action?

Amendment No. 222 is purely a drafting matter. It is not required, as the clause already has the effect that the amendment would achieve. The notice of proceeding for possession referred to in new section 143B(3) is a notice under new section 143E to the Housing Act 1996.

Amendments Nos. 223 and 224 would change the way in which a demoted tenancy is ended by requiring the courts to consider whether it is reasonable to end the tenancy and link the possession specifically to antisocial behaviour. Amendments Nos. 221, 223 and 237 would also change the basis on which the court ends a demoted tenancy.

All the amendments undermine the system of demotion. Eviction from a demoted tenancy is designed to be swifter and easier than from secure tenancies. It is modelled, as has been said, on the procedure for local authority introductory tenancies. It has recently been approved by the courts as compliant with the European convention on human rights. Our aim is to increase landlords' control in the process, while still being fair to tenants. It is a matter of balance and we believe that we have the balance right.

Photo of James Paice James Paice Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

I want to press the Minister on this point. He seems to be saying that he wants a demoted tenancy to allow a faster course of possession, but he seems to ignore the fact that schedule 1, which we are seeking to amend, says on page 43:

''The court must make an order for possession unless it thinks that the procedure under sections 143E and 143F has not been followed.''

In other words, the court cannot have cognisance of any reasons. Therefore, as long as the landlord has followed the right procedure, he does not have to give a reason for evicting the tenant. I should have thought that Government Members, who understandably are sometimes vexed about unscrupulous landlords, would be concerned about that. Once a landlord has a demotion order, there is nothing to prevent him from seeking to evict the tenant without having to display in court any further cause other than that he has followed the right procedures.

Photo of Tony McNulty Tony McNulty Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

As I have said, demotions are deliberately intended to reduce the security of tenure of antisocial tenants. The court case approving the introductory tenancy is McLellan, and the procedure includes a right to a review. However, the amendments give back to tenants accused of antisocial behaviour their security and wipe out all the benefits of a demotion scheme.

Photo of Tony McNulty Tony McNulty Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

They would effectively require a double possession hearing. Landlords will simply go straight from the injunction stage or whatever stage is used all the way through to possession, without trying to use the alternative model of demotion. The hon. Gentleman said ''Rubbish,'' but the amendment would fundamentally undermine the whole purpose of the demotion process.

Photo of Mr Matthew Green Mr Matthew Green Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol, Ludlow

Where a demoted tenancy has been issued for antisocial behaviour and the person has ceased their antisocial behaviour but gets behind in their rent, does the Minister envisage that being considered a suitable reason for closing down a demoted tenancy?

Photo of Tony McNulty Tony McNulty Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

As I have said, the purpose of demoted tenancies is to obviate the need to go directly to the possession route for antisocial behaviour. It puts another element in the process and says loudly and clearly to tenants, ''There are sanctions against and consequences to your behaviour''.

I agree with what the hon. Gentleman said some time back that there is substantial evidence to suggest that to go straight from a position where a relationship has broken down to possession and eviction does not necessarily sort out the problems of the family concerned or resolve the problems in that locality, but simply moves them to another area. That is what fundamentally underpins the process of demoted tenancies, but, to be effective, they must have teeth. It makes no sense for a landlord to agree to go the demoted tenancy route, with all that it implies, when he or she could have gone directly for a possession order if they then simply wait for the wrong leaves on the footpath leading up to the house or the equivalent, to say, ''Well, my lad, I am going straight for a possession order.'' The consequential dimensions make no sense.

Without the amendments, the whole process of demoted tenancies has real teeth. There is a real message about sanctions and consequences of behaviour that will be fundamentally undermined, whether intentionally or otherwise, by the thrust and import of the amendments.

Photo of Mr Matthew Green Mr Matthew Green Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol, Ludlow 5:45, 13 Mai 2003

Will it be easier for a landlord to secure a demoted tenancy than an eviction in the first instance? If it is easier to secure a demoted tenancy, will unscrupulous landlords not use that as a quick and easy means of getting someone out of a house if they cannot secure an eviction order?

Photo of Tony McNulty Tony McNulty Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

The question is why would they? If they can go down the eviction and possession route, why would they bother trying any other route? Demotion orders follow from and are consequential to only serious antisocial behaviour. They do not simply drop out of the sky as part of the housing management function. They are part of a process. We are talking about cases in which the tenant's antisocial behaviour is such that their security of tenure is taken away.

The sanctions are serious. Landlords are not going to come up with a whole range of spurious or vexatious notions because they have decided that it is far better to have half their tenants under demotion orders so that it is quicker to get rid of them if they fancy it. We are not talking about a spurious process that is engaged in lightly by local housing authorities, HATs or RSLs. I repeat that there are serious regulatory and statutory frameworks outwith the Bill within which the functions of housing management have to operate. We need to see things in that wider context. If demotion orders are to work and be effective—

Sitting suspended for a Division in the House.

On resuming—

Photo of Tony McNulty Tony McNulty Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister 12:00, 13 Mai 2003

We had reached the stage at which we had exhausted our deliberations on the set of amendments led by amendment No. 103. For the reasons that I outlined at length before the Division, I urge the hon. Member for South-East Cambridgeshire to withdraw the amendment.

Photo of James Paice James Paice Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

I confess that, for the first time this afternoon, I am disappointed in the Minister. He has been very reasonable until now, but he has not taken on board the import of what we have been saying.

First, I shall deal with amendments Nos. 103 and 104, which deal with visitors. The Minister said rather dismissively that the matter was established in law, then seemed to imply that the definition of a visitor would not include somebody who just turned up. That was my point. I did not necessarily want to remove ''visiting'', but I did want to know what it meant. I shall return to the matter in my concluding comment.

I turn to amendment No. 234, which, as the hon. Member for Ludlow observed, is similar to his amendment No. 237. We are not trying to draw the

teeth of a demotion order, which the Minister seemed to imply, nor are we suggesting that somebody who has persistently been either guilty in person or guilty of permitting antisocial behaviour linked to his tenancy should not be the subject of a demotion order. That provision seems perfectly reasonable and I support that part of the Bill.

My sole concern is that, as far as I can see, there is nothing to prevent the landlord who has obtained the demotion order from seeking to gain possession entirely on a whim a week or a month into the period of the demotion order. At that stage, it is accepted that the tenant is guilty of antisocial behaviour, otherwise the court would not have granted the demotion order. The Minister referred to the wrong sort of leaves on the path or words to that effect. With no desire to ridicule, my reading of schedule 1 is that the landlord does not need to give a reason. It is clear from the extract that I read from new section 143D(2) to the Housing Act 1996 that the court cannot have any cognisance of his reason for seeking possession; it simply has to ensure that he has gone through the procedure. The Minister said that the tenant has a right to ask for review. That is true, but it is a review by the landlord. New section 143F(2) simply says:

''If a request is made in accordance with subsection (1) the landlord must review the decision.''

Photo of Mr Matthew Green Mr Matthew Green Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol, Ludlow

I can foresee one example in which a demoted tenancy is brought because of the antisocial behaviour of a 17-year-old son whose outrageous behaviour creates problems. The son could leave home, leaving the parents with a demoted tenancy and a month in rent arrears, and the landlord could then just tell them to leave. There would be no natural justice in that whatsoever.

Photo of James Paice James Paice Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

The hon. Gentleman gives a good example, but I am not sure that the tenant would even need to be in arrears. Nothing in the clause requires a substantive reason for seeking possession, and the court cannot have cognisance of it. That is my concern.

Photo of Siobhain McDonagh Siobhain McDonagh Llafur, Mitcham and Morden

Does the hon. Gentleman not agree that that is the position under assured shorthold tenancies? Most commercial and private landlords sign their tenants up as assured shorthold tenancies, and at the expiry of the tenancy they can get possession for almost any reason. Why would an unscrupulous landlord choose to go down the difficult route of signing an assured tenancy, then going through the difficult procedure of securing a demoted tenancy to achieve the eviction that he could have secured if he had first given his tenant a six-month assured shorthold tenancy?

Photo of James Paice James Paice Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

There is a clear distinction. Both the tenant and landlord know that an assured shorthold tenancy is for a fixed duration. That form of tenancy was introduced to stimulate the private rented sector by ensuring that both parties know the precise duration of the tenancy and that there is no certainty of continuation beyond its finish. However, we are talking about a tenant who has a full assured tenancy under an RSL, HAT or local authority finding that the landlord, having got the demoted tenancy, can decide

to continue with possession proceedings without any just cause. That is a different situation.

I shall not press amendment No. 103. However, in the light of the Minister's misunderstanding—to be charitable—of our purpose, I signal my intention to divide the Committee on amendment No. 234 at the appropriate time. Having made that point, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendments made: No. 227, in

clause 14, page 13, line 13, at end insert—

'(4A) Each of the following has effect in respect of a demoted tenancy at the time it is created by virtue of an order under this section as it has effect in relation to the secure tenancy at the time it is terminated by virtue of the order—

(a) the parties to the tenancy;

(b) the period of the tenancy;

(c) the amount of the rent;

(d) the dates on which the rent is payable.

(4B) Subsection (4A)(b) does not apply if the secure tenancy was for a fixed term and in such a case the demoted tenancy is a weekly periodic tenancy.

(4C) If the landlord of the demoted tenancy serves on the tenant a statement of any other express terms of the secure tenancy which are to apply to the demoted tenancy such terms are also terms of the demoted tenancy.'

No. 228, in

clause 14, page 13, line 36, at end insert—

'(d) it is also a term of the demoted tenancy that any rent paid in advance or overpaid at the termination of the assured tenancy is credited to the tenant's liability to pay rent under the demoted tenancy.

No. 229, in

clause 14, page 13, line 43, at end insert—

'(4A) Each of the following has effect in respect of a demoted tenancy at the time it is created by virtue of an order under this section as it has effect in relation to the assured tenancy at the time it is terminated by virtue of the order—

(a) the parties to the tenancy;

(b) the period of the tenancy;

(c) the amount of the rent;

(d) the dates on which the rent is payable.

(4B) Subsection (4A)(b) does not apply if the assured tenancy was for a fixed term and in such a case the demoted tenancy is a weekly periodic tenancy.

(4C) If the landlord of the demoted tenancy serves on the tenant a statement of any other express terms of the assured tenancy which are to apply to the demoted tenancy such terms are also terms of the demoted tenancy.'

—[Mr. McNulty.]

Clause 14, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.