Clause 7 - Term reserving prohibited rent treated as reserving permitted rent

Part of Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee am 10:45 am ar 7 Rhagfyr 2021.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Maria Eagle Maria Eagle Llafur, Garston and Halewood 10:45, 7 Rhagfyr 2021

I wish to ask the Minister a question. I apologise to him; obviously we have not yet reached the debate on the commencement provisions, but he might be able to enlighten us on the Government’s intention. Clearly, it is entirely welcome that clause 7 would simply replace the unfair term in the lease that asks for real money for ground rent rather than the peppercorn, which the legislation is intended to outlaw, but the commencement provisions are not totally clear about when that provision will be commenced.

My understanding is that there will be a regulation-making power for the Government to bring into force the Act on the day that they wish to do so. My concern about not being clearer about when clause 7 comes into force is that there may be a gap between when the Bill is passed and when the clause is commenced by the Government, because they will have to make a regulation to do so. Does that leave a space for unscrupulous landlords to continue to have unfair contract terms in their leases after Royal Assent but before the commencement of the legislation?

I wonder whether the Minister could assuage concerns by making it clear that it is the Government’s intention not to have a big gap between Royal Assent and commencement such that a loophole could be created in which clause 7 has not yet been commenced, preventing unscrupulous characters who may want to induce potential tenants into leases with contract terms that would be outlawed by the Bill from doing so. A simple commitment from him that there will be no such gap would satisfy me entirely.