Clause 6 - Permitted rent: leases replacing pre-commencement leases

Part of Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee am 10:30 am ar 7 Rhagfyr 2021.

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Photo of Eddie Hughes Eddie Hughes Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities) 10:30, 7 Rhagfyr 2021

Earlier, we considered amendments 1 and 2, which relate to disapplying the premium requirement for a lease where there is deemed surrender and regrant. This set of amendments is also connected to the deemed surrender and regrant process, but more specifically, they clarify the matter raised by Lord Etherton with regard to a lease variation.

As currently drafted, it was not clear, where there was a pre-commencement lease where a demise was changed, whether such leases would be captured by clause 6. It was raised in the other place that, if not, any existing ground rent in those leases would be reduced to a peppercorn. We recognise that that might make some landlords reluctant to agree to such changes, thereby disadvantaging their leaseholders, which is not the Bill’s intention. The amendments make clear that the demise of a lease can be changed and the resulting surrender and regrant will not reduce the ground rent on the balance of the term of the pre-commencement lease to a peppercorn.

Any extension to the term of the pre-commencement lease will be required to be a peppercorn, in the same way as for voluntary lease extension. By clarifying that ground rent in pre-commencement leases can continue in this way, the amendment ensures that freeholders need not withhold consent for a lease variation unnecessarily. It also ensures that there is a consistent approach towards existing leaseholders throughout the Bill. As with amendments 1 and 2, the amendments are designed to avoid unintended consequences.