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.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Maria Eagle Maria Eagle Llafur, Garston and Halewood 10:30, 7 Rhagfyr 2021

I just want a little clarity from the Minister about the circumstances in which this extensive clause would apply. Is the amendment seeking to exclude just the issue of a voluntary lease variation? One might argue, quite plausibly, that any kind of leasehold is entirely voluntary, because the parties to the lease voluntarily sign it—caveat emptor and all that. One can say that any signature of a lease is voluntary in that sense.

The Minister says that a particular issue was raised in the other place about variations not happening if the landlord, in granting one, therefore lost the ground rent he was getting on an existing lease. I think that is the issue that the Minister raised in his succinct manner. However, I worry slightly about the word “voluntary” when it attaches to leases, because one might say that any signature of a lease is voluntary, on the basis that a party has, without being forced, signed it. I just wonder whether he is clear that his amendments will not create the potential for a wider loophole than one would wish in seeking to keep it tight.

I hope the Minister understands the minor point I am trying to make. I am very anxious that we do not inadvertently create broader loopholes in the Bill as a consequence of this. When one uses “voluntary” in relation to signing a lease, one can easily argue that any signature of any variation or lease is voluntary.