HL Deb 22 March 2001 vol 623 cc252-3GC

(" .—(1) Schedule 4A of the 1967 Act (certain leases granted by housing associations) is amended as follows.

(2) In paragraph 3(1), after "a lease granted by a housing association" insert ", or which reverts to a housing association on expiry,".

(3) In paragraph 3(2), omit paragraph (d).").

The noble Baroness said: The amendment refers to the previous Act and the low rent test. I highlighted the issue earlier. It is peculiar to registered social landlords and people who are in the process of buying their houses through shared ownership. This clause will ensure that shared ownership houses can be acquired only by shared owners, through the process of staircasing; that is, gradually increasing their interest in the property eventually to 100 per cent. As I understand it, originally there were amendments to the Leasehold Reform Act 1967 and to Housing Act 1996 to deal with the discrepancies. Many believe that that did not do so effectively, with the result that now shared owners may currently acquire their freehold to their houses through enfranchisement from registered social landlords for very small sums of money. I am sure that this is not the Government's intention. I believe that the amendment would deal with it. I hope that Government will either say that that is not the case or that we can deal with the situation. I beg to move.

4.45 p.m.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey

I do not think that the amendment will deal with it, but the noble Baroness, Lady Maddock, has identified a real problem with the 1967 Act. It was not designed with shared ownership in mind, and the best thing for us to do is to take the problem away for consideration.

Baroness Maddock

I am grateful. I hope that it can be sorted out this time. There have been attempts in the past and we have not succeeded yet. I look forward to a successful amendment in the future. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Kingsland moved Amendment No. 235A: After Clause 135, insert the following new clause— (" In section 22 of the 1967 Act, insert—