Justin Madders, Labour MP for Ellesmere Port & Neston and Deputy Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Leasehold Reform, will launch a new Leasehold Reform Bill in Parliament on 7 November 2017 under the Ten Minute Rule process.
The Bill plans to legislate for a “straightforward, cost effective and fair system” for leaseholders wanting to purchase their freeholds (flats by majority, houses by the occupier), introduce a compensation scheme for people misled about leasehold, and change the rules around the award of costs in Property Tribunal cases.
It is great to see this happen but, as ever, you have to be realistic if not downright pessimistic about any real leasehold reform getting through Parliament with all its landlords. It is remarkable how so often reforms seem to end up nobbled with clauses to help freeholders? Look at the existing enfranchisement and lease extension caper.
The ‘Ten Minute Rule’ procedure allows a backbench (or any?) MP to introduce a Private Member’s Bill, so-called because the proposer gets all of ten minutes to speak to the new Bill in Parliament when introducing it. My understanding is that backbench MPs agree between themselves who will propose a popular Bill based on who ‘wins’ the available slot. Don’t know if that is what is happening here. Given the size of the APPG it should get a Second Reading at least. After that, we-ell… it is politics and I don’t trust a lot of politicians not to have ulterior motives. Cynical, I know.
Nothing will happen quickly either way. On the other hand, it was beginning to look to me like the government was dragging its heels on reform, with nothing in the pipeline and the year almost over.
These Private Members’ Bills apparently get low priority for time. My understanding is that the Ten Minute Rule mechanism often leads nowhere, not unless the government supports the Bill or adopts it.
So, while it is excellent to see something at least start, the critical issue is where it will finish, what it will do, and when it will do it.
I would feel better if the government itself had by now produced a comprehensive Reform Bill after all the talk. Why the hold up?