HC Deb 22 July 1996 vol 282 cc82-3

Lords amendment: No. 126, after clause 105, to insert the following new clause—Compensation for postponement of termination in connection with ineffective claims— . Schedule (Compensation for postponement of termination in connection with ineffective claims) (which makes, in relation to claims to enfranchisement or an extended lease under Part I of the Leasehold Reform Act 1967 and claims to collective enfranchisement or a new lease under Chapter I or II of Part I of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993, provision for compensation of the landlord where the claim has prolonged an existing tenancy, but is ineffective) shall have effect.

Mr. Clappison

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

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this, it will be convenient to take Lords amendment No. 296.

Mr. Clappison

These amendments allow landlords to claim compensation for the market rent forgone when an unsuccessful claim for enfranchisement or a new lease is made during the last two years of the original lease term, and results in the leaseholder holding over their ground rent. This provision will come into force on 15 January 1999.

Mr. Raynsford

This is another amendment that serves the landlord's interest.

A short course of study of the history of leasehold reform would be advisable before the Minister makes further remarks in the House about the merits of the Leasehold Reform Act 1967. Anyone who has studied leasehold reform knows that that was by far the most effective piece of leasehold reform legislation that has been passed since the war. It resulted in hundreds of thousands of leaseholders being able to buy the freehold of their homes. That was a successful piece of leasehold reform.

All the present Government's measures attempting to bring justice to leaseholders have failed. The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 and the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 have all been seen to fail, because the Government surrendered the principle of support for leaseholders to their financial interest because they are bankrolled by the big landowners. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that they are supporting an amendment that will allow compensation to landowners, which I am sure is dear to the hearts of landowners and dear to the heart of the Government.

We will continue to press for the interests of leaseholders, and, after the next election, when a Labour Government have once again been returned to this country, Labour will prepare a proper and comprehensive measure of leasehold reform, to ensure that leaseholders at long last get a measure to parallel the achievements of the 1967 Act, which achieved very great things for leaseholders in houses. It will be the next Labour Government's historic duty and responsibility to ensure that leaseholders in flats achieve a similar benefit.

Lords amendment agreed to.

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