HC Deb 18 April 1967 vol 745 cc427-30

Lords Amendment: No. 5, in page 45, line 7, at end insert new Clause "A":

'A. (1) This section shall have effect where, after the carrying out of any proposals for amalgamation approved for the purposes of a scheme under section 26 of this Act, a dwelling-house which, at the time when the proposals were submitted, was occupied by a person responsible (whether as owner, tenant, or servant or agent of another) for the control of the farming of any of the land comprised in the amalgamation is let on a regulated tenancy otherwise than to—

  1. (a) a person who ceased to he so responsible as part of the amalgamation, or
  2. (b) a person who is, or at any time was, employed by the landlord in agriculture, or
  3. (c) the widow of any such person as is mentioned in either of the preceding paragraphs.


  1. (a) not later than the commencement of the regulated tenancy, the tenant has been given notice in writing that possession may be recovered under this section, and
  2. (b) apart from the Rent Acts, the landlord would he entitled to recover possession of the dwelling-house, and
  3. (c) the court is satisfied that the dwelling-house is required for occupation by a person employed or to be employed by the landlord in agriculture,
the court shall, in proceedings commenced by the landlord during the period specified in subsection (3) below, make an order for the possession of the dwelling-house, whether or not it would have power to do so under section 3 of the Act of 1933, and section 5(2) of the Act of 1920 shall not apply in relation to the order.

(3) The period referred to in subsection (2) above is one of five years beginning with the date on which the proposals for the amalgamation were approved or, if occupation of the dwelling-house after the amalgamation continued in, or was first taken by, a person falling within subsection (1)(a) above or his widow, a period expiring three years after the date on which the dwelling-house next became unoccupied.

(4) In this section— 'the Rent Acts' means the Rent and Mortgage Interest Restrictions Acts 1920 to 1939, or any of those Acts, and 'the Act of 1920' and 'the Act of 1933' mean respectively the Increase of Rent and Mortgage Interest (Restrictions) Act 1920 and the Rent Mortgage Interest Restrictions (Amendment) Act 1933; 'employed' and 'agriculture' have the same meanings as in the Agricultural Wages Act 1948 or, in Scotland, the Agricultural Wages (Scotland) Act 1949; 'landlord', tenant 'and tenancy' have the same meanings as in the Act of 1920; 'regulated tenancy' means a tenancy to which the Rent Acts apply by virtue of section 1 of the Rent Act 1965; and 'order for possession', in relation to Scotland, means decree of removing or warrant of ejection or other like order.

Mr. Peart

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.

Mr. Speaker

Would it be convenient if, at the same time, we discussed Amendment No. 6, Clause 38, in page 45, line 9, at end insert: and section (Recovery of possession of farmhouses made redundant by amalgamation).

Mr. Peart

Yes, Mr. Speaker, because that is consequential upon the new Clause, which introduces a provision which I am sure will be welcomed by right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite, who divided the House on Report in an attempt to insert a Clause to similar, but wider, effect. We promised at that time to consider carefully whether we could devise suitable legislation to fit into the Bill, and the new Clause is the result.

The object of the new Clause is to ensure that, when a farmhouse becomes redundant as a result of an approved amalgamation, the landlord shall have a period of grace after the outgoing farmer or his widow vacates the house in which to decide whether or not he needs it for an agricultural employee. It enables the landlord to let such a house of a regulated tenancy with power to regain possession within five years from the date of approval of the amalgamation proposals if the house is vacated in connection with the amalgamation. Alternatively he can do so within three years from the date when it is eventually vacated if an outgoing farmer or his widow remains in occupation after the amalgamation is effected. In both cases, of course, possession must be required in order to put someone into the house who is working or going to work for the landlord in agriculture.

This is a valuable concession. I know that the National Farmers' Union would have preferred a longer or indefinite period for repossession, but in the Government's view the periods specified ought to be long enough for a landlord to make up his mind.

Amendment No. 6 is consequential on the new Clause. It provides that the new Clause shall not extend to Northern Ireland, where the existing law already enables dwelling-houses to be re-possessed in the circumstances specified in the new Clause.

Mr. Godber

My hon. Friends and I welcome this proposal and are very glad indeed that the Government have seen fit to bring forward the new Clause. As the Minister pointed out, my hon. Friends and I moved on Report a new Clause similar in nature, though somewhat wider. However, on that occasion our plea fell on deaf ears. Now we have the wisdom of the Government in introducing this provision.

I regret that there is not a further stage to the Bill because if there were we might get more concessions. However, we welcome this last minute concession, which is a valuable one and one which could prove of real help in a limited number of cases. While the value of the concession should not be over-stated, it could be of help in a limited number of cases.

Turning to the provisions of the Clause, I note the provisions in subsection (3) which appears to be some sort of compromise between what was proposed by a noble Lord in the other place and what was proposed by my own noble Friend—

It being Ten o'clock, the debate stood adjourned.