§ (1) Where by virtue of Section thirty-six of thirty-seven of this Act the liability for the maintenance or repair of any item of fixed equipment is transferred from the tenant to the landlord, the landlord may within the prescribed period beginning with the date on which the transfer takes effect require that there shall be determined by arbitration under the Act of 1923, and paid by the tenant, the amount of any compensation which would have been payable either under Section twenty-eight of this Act or in accordance with Sub: section (3) of that Section, in respect of any previous failure by the tenant-to discharge the said liability, if the tenant had quitted the 232 holding on the termination of his tenancy at the date on which the transfer takes effect.
§ (2) For the purposes of so much of Subsection (3) of Section twenty-eight of this Act as prevents a landlord claiming compensation in respect of the same holding both under a contract of tenancy and under Subsection (1) of the said Section twenty-eight, any claim under the last foregoing Subsection shall be disregarded.
§ (3) Where by virtue of Section thirty-six or thirty-seven of this Act the liability for the maintenance or repair of any item of fixed equipment is transferred from the landlord to the tenant, any claim by the tenant in respect of any previous failure by the landlord to discharge the said liability shall, if the tenant within the prescribed period beginning with the date on which the transfer takes effect so requires, be determined by arbitration under the Act of 1923.
§ (4) Where it appears to the arbitrator—
- (a) on any reference under Subsection (2) of Section thirty-six of this Act that by reason of any provision included in his award, or
- (b) on any reference under Section thirty- seven of this Act that by reason of any provision which he is required by that Section to include in his award,
§ (5) The award of an arbitrator under Section thirty-six or thirty-seven of this Act shall have effect as if the terms and provisions specified and made therein were contained in an agreement in writing entered into by the landlord and the tenant and having effect as from the making of the award or, if the award so provides, from such later date as may be specified therein.—[The Solicitor-General.]
§ Brought up, and read the First time.
§ The Solicitor-General
I beg to move "That the Clause be read a Second time."
Its object, roughly speaking, is as follows. Hon. Members will remember that Clauses 36 and 37 of the Bill have the effect that in certain circumstances the liability to repair and maintain fixed equipment can be transferred from the landlord to the tenant or vice versa from the tenant to the landlord. During the discussion of these two Clauses in Committee it was pointed out that apparently the effect of that would be that in the event of such a transfer, and of the landlord or the tenant, as the case might be, committing a breach of his obligations before the transfer, the parties would have to wait until the termination of the tenancy before damages could be claimed 233 for that breach. It was further pointed out that that was unsatisfactory, and the argument was adduced that supposing, in the event of such a transfer taking place, it became apparent that the landlord or the tenant had committed a breach of his obligation to repaid and maintain fixed equipment, it should be possible there and then for the wronged party to claim damages or compensation for that breach.
What this new Clause seeks to do is to bring that about. If they will look at it more closely, hon. Members will see that Subsection (1) provides that in the event of there being a transfer of liability the landlord may ask that the arbitrator should determine his claim for compensation. Subsection (2) is machinery, intricate and complicated, and I think the House would not want me to go into much detail about it. It impinges upon Clause 28, and is necessary in order to prevent certain results from ensuing under that Clause. Subsection (3) enables a tenant to have his claim adjudicated upon by arbitration under the Agricultural Holdings Act, 1923. The tenant's normal remedy in regard to a breach of obligation would be to sue for damages under his contract, and he will still be able to take this course if he wishes. The advantage of Subsection (3) will be that he can adopt a more convenient procedure by having his claim dealt with by arbitration under the Act of 1923 if he wishes. Subsections (4) and (5) are only drafting and machinery provisions. If hon. Members will look at Clauses 36 and 37 they will see that Subsections (4) and (5) of Clause 36, and Subsections (4) and (5) of Clause 37 are identical in wording. The proposed new Clause gathers these parts of those two Clauses together, for the sake of brevity. Later Amendments will deal with other aspects of the same matter.
I should point out something which was referred to during the Committee stage. If hon. Members will look at the last line of the proposed new Clause, they will see that it brings about the result that the award is to operate with effect from the date of the order, or from such later date as may be specified. In other words, it cannot be made to operate retrospectively. In Clauses 36 and 37, orders can be made to operate retrospectively, but now they have to start at the date of the award. I hope that the House will think that the 234 new Clause is satisfactory and meets the objects for which it was designed.
§ Sir T. Dugdale
We have given careful consideration to the proposed new Clause, and we are grateful to the Solicitor-General for the explanation he has given. We agree that it is a little definite improvement in the drafting of the Bill, and we thank the Minister for it.
§ Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.