§ Mr. Andrew F. Bennett
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement about the working of the Rentcharges Act during its first 12 months.
§ Mr. Armstrong
Since 1 February 1978, when the procedures provided under the Rentcharges Act 1977 came into force, 1,073 applications for apportionment have been received. These include 612 applications for the apportionment of rentcharges—under the Rentcharges Act—and 461 for the apportionment of groundrents—under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1927. During the previous 12 months the number of applications for apportionment was 360.
Since 1 February, 1978, 662 orders of apportionment have been made. These include 298 made under the Rentcharges Act and 364 made—in respect of groundrents—under the Landlord and Tenant Act. Of the latter 176 were in respect of applications made before 1 February.
3,659 applications for certificates of redemption have also been received since 1 February 1978. Of these 479 resulted from orders of apportionment which have been made conditional on the applicant redeeming his rentcharges. In only two cases has my right hon. Friend been asked not to impose the condition on the grounds that it would cause financial hardship, and the request has been granted in both cases. The total number of applications for redemption during the previous 12 months was 540.
1,955 Certificates of Redemption have been issued and 204 of these resulted from applications made before 1 February and were therefore issued under the old legislation.
The total of 2,617 orders made and certificates issued shows an overall in- 550W crease of 129 per cent. compared with the previous 12 months and the rate at which orders are made and certificates are issued is still increasing.
The new procedures continue to work well. It is sometimes necessary to seek further information from applicants and this is usually easily forthcoming and in only a small number of cases has it been necessary to ask for deeds or copies of deeds. The high rate of application shows no signs of slowing down and is clear evidence that people have found the new procedures simpler and cheaper. Applicants no longer have to pay the legal costs of rentowners and the redemption price has ranged during the last 12 months between 7.943 and 9.033 times the annual amount of the rentcharge. At 31 January the multiplier was 8.017.