Clause 26 - Commencement

Part of Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee am 11:30 am ar 9 Rhagfyr 2021.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Mike Amesbury Mike Amesbury Shadow Minister (Housing, Communities and Local Government) 11:30, 9 Rhagfyr 2021

I beg to move amendment 10, in clause 26, page 15, leave out subsection (4).

This amendment aims to ensure that the provisions apply to retirement properties from the time at which they come into force for other types of property, whereas at present the Bill will prevent those provisions coming into force for retirement properties before April 2023.

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship once again, Ms Elliott. With my final amendment—not including new clauses—I want to raise something that was raised repeatedly in the other place: the question of retirement properties. I understand that, after a review, the Government have dropped their plans to exclude retirement homes and they will be included after a period of transition. I am glad to see that the Government and Ministers have moved forward on this. However, like Members of the Lords, I see no reason why those living in retirement properties should not be given the same rights as those in other types of leasehold property, at the same time. In the spirit in which we have tabled other amendments, this amendment’s aim is to ensure that all leaseholders are treated equally and that the 50,000 or so leasehold owners of retirement properties are not subject to unjust costs while other leaseholders are free from them. That is something that Members from across the Committee have raised.

Should the Minister not want to accept the amendment, I would be grateful if he outlined why exactly retirement property has been given this longer transition period. Given that this is a growing market and we should certainly be encouraging our senior citizens who want to rightsize—freeing up family homes for those who need the space, while living somewhere that suits their needs—what assessment has the Minister made of the number of leaseholders who will fail to benefit from the new system should they purchase somewhere before 1 April 2023? What will he say to them? The stories about retirement housing and fees are some of the worst in the housing market. They have been very well documented, and I know that the Minister is familiar with them. Can the Minister outline what he intends to do about that in the transition period right up until April 2023?