HC Deb 19 January 1996 vol 269 c782W
Mr. Peter Atkinson

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals he has to amend part I of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993. [11313]

Mr. Curry

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced on 18 January, in answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Gravesham (Mr. Arnold) a number of proposals to strengthen leaseholders' rights against unreasonable behaviour by their landlords. One of these proposals was to bring forward amendments to the Housing Bill, which is published today, to permit collective enfranchisement in properties where flying freeholds have been created.

In addition, the Housing Bill contains four provisions, all of a relatively technical nature, to amend the provisions of the 1993 Act relating to leasehold enfranchisement of flats and to the right to buy an extended lease. The provisions are:

  1. (i) to clarify the valuation provisions in schedule 6—leasehold enfranchisement, and schedule 13—premium to be paid for lease extension, in cases where there are intermediate leasehold interests;
  2. (ii) to provide explicit assumptions to be used in valuing the tenant's existing lease and new lease for the purpose of calculating marriage values under schedule 13 to the Act;
  3. (iii) to disregard the effect for valuation purposes of certain transactions which might have the effect of reducing the price to be paid for an extended lease under Schedule 13. If the Bill is enacted in its current form, specified transactions after today—unless in pursuance of certain contracts entered into on or before today—will be disregarded; and
  4. (iv) in cases where flats are owned by trustees, to allow residence by a beneficiary of the trust to satisfy the residence qualifications for enfranchisement and for lease extension.

The provisions amending schedule 13 on valuation will apply to all notices of claim given after today, except in cases where the premium has been agreed or determined before the day the Act is passed. I do not expect these provisions to alter the amount to be paid for acquiring a freehold or a lease extension in the great majority of cases.