HC Deb 04 March 1926 vol 192 cc1652-4W

asked the Attorney-General whether he is aware that the County Council of Durham are, under the Law of Property Act, 1922, Section 145, compelling site-holders in Hartlepool to accept 2,000-year leases instead of short-term ones, and also at considerably increased yearly rentals; and whether, seeing that they set forth a reduction of cost by the saving of fines, he will consider an equitable arrangement, both of rent and period, and introduce legislation to support such fair period and rental only, especially as in most cases fines have already been paid in advance up to 1935?


I think the hon. Member must be under some misapprehension. Section 145 of the Law of Property Act, 1922, does not enable the Durham County Council or any other lessor to compel lessees to accept 2,000-year leases instead of short-term ones. What the section and the 15th Schedule dependant thereon, as amended by paragraph 5 (5) of the Second Schedule to the Law of Property (Amendment) Act, 1924, provide is that where a lessee holds a perpetually renewable lease:

  1. (1) the lease is to be converted into a lease for a term of 2,000 years;
  2. (2) the lessee is to be relieved of liability to pay the fines and fees to agents which would have been payable on the periodical renewals;
  3. (3) the rent is to be increased by an amount equal to the annual value of the fines and the compensation to agents for loss of fees as determined on an actuarial basis.
If no fine would have become payable until 1935, the actuarial value of the fines could not be great.

If the amount of the addition to the rent is not agreed between the lessor and the lessee, it is settled by an actuary appointed, in default of agreement between the parties, by the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries.