§ 25. Mr. Arthur Davidson
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government if he will introduce legislation to abolish ground rents and rent charges.
§ Mr. MacColl
Existing legislation provides for the redemption of perpetual rent charges on freehold property on application to my right hon. Friend by the rent-payer. The Law Commission is examining the whole subject of rent charges and is in course of preparing a Working Paper, which will contain its provisional conclusions. These my right hon. Friend will study carefully. Existing legislation enables certain leaseholders to buy their freeholds. Householders can apply to my right hon. Friend for a separate apportionment of their share of a ground rent or rent charge to end the burden of collecting rents on neighbouring properties.
§ Mr. Davidson
Is my hon. Friend aware that his answer is moderately encouraging, but will he remember that many of us feel that the whole system of ground rents is feudal, archaic, thoroughly unnecessary and particularly hard on the people who have to pay and collect them? Since the Opposition did nothing about it when they were in office, can we not abolish it?
§ Mr. MacColl
The Minister and I share the same unfortunate legacy from the past and, as in all our reforms, we hope to undo it as quickly as we can.
§ Mr. Hugh Jenkins
Would my hon. Friend enfranchise leasehold flats as soon as possible, perhaps during the present Session?