Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page


Lord Carter: My Lords, this is a technical point. In order to be absolutely clear, I should be grateful for confirmation that this amendment applies to new tenancies under the 1986 Act and any tenancies which fall under this Bill but not to existing 1986 Act tenancies, so that there is no element of retrospection to protect the mortgagor of land which is presently let under the 1986 Act. Is that understanding correct?

Earl Howe: My Lords, the essential point is certainly that there is no element of retrospection. The amendment will restore the right to contract out of Section 99 of the Law of Property Act in relation to agricultural land, but the new clause will retain the existing restriction on contracting out in the case of all loans made before the Bill comes into force and in the case of loans made subsequently which are secured on a mortgage of a tenanted holding which is still governed by the Agricultural Holdings Act of 1986.

I am now in a position to shed a little further light on the question posed by my noble friend Lord Stodart. The definition of fixed equipment is very similar to that used in the 1986 Act. Fences, dry stone walls, hedges and so on fall within the definition. In relation to the amendments which we have just approved, we did not favour the idea that improvements should be listed, as proposed by the Opposition. We have now dealt with the problem by another method, as my noble friend will appreciate.

On Question, Motion agreed to.


COMMONS AMENDMENTS
24Clause 34, page 16, line 17, leave out from beginning to "after" in line 18 and insert:
".—( ) Section 22 of the Solicitors Act 1974 (unqualified person not to prepare certain instruments) shall be amended as follows.
( ) In subsection (2),".
25Page 16, line 20, leave out from "any" to "drawing" in line 21 and insert "accredited person".
26Page 16, line 28, at end insert:
"( ) In subsection (3A), immediately before the definition of 'registered trade mark agent' there shall be inserted—
'"accredited person" means any person who is—
(a) a Full Member of the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers,
(b) an Associate or Fellow of the Incorporated Society of Valuers and Auctioneers, or
(c) an Associate or Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors;'.".

Earl Howe: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 24 to 26 en bloc.

This group of three government amendments responds to points made by the noble Lord, Lord Gallacher, at the Third Reading of the Bill. Noble Lords may recollect that at that time we had not completed consultations with the CAAV and ISVA about possible further amendments to the Solicitors Act. I am pleased to confirm that

2 May 1995 : Column 1356

appropriately qualified members of the CAAV and ISVA, as well as the RICS, will be able to draw up tenancy agreements of more than three years' duration.

Moved, that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 24 to 26 en bloc.—(Earl Howe.)

Lord Carter: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister. This was a point that we pressed and which the Government said they would take away. The Minister will know that the amendment has met with considerable agreement among the members of the organisations which are mentioned.

As we approach the end of the Commons amendments, I wonder when there will be a concession in response to an amendment that I moved. So far every concession has been in respect of an amendment moved by my noble friend Lord Gallacher. That draws attention to his considerable powers of persuasion.

Lord Stanley of Alderley: My Lords, I hope that members of those organisations will be properly qualified. I was anxious about that aspect of the amendment. It will not be the most simple of jobs to draw up these agreements.

Earl Howe: My Lords, perhaps I may respond to the point raised by my noble friend Lord Stanley. The CAAV and the ISVA have provided full details of their examinations and internal professional standards. Both bodies require practitioners to have professional indemnity insurance. I emphasise that this provision will apply to appropriately qualified members of those bodies. We feel that there is no good reason to restrict the scope of the amendment to the Solicitors Act in favour solely of RICS members.

On Question, Motion agreed to.


COMMONS AMENDMENT
27Clause 35, page 16, line 36, leave out from beginning to end of line 38 and insert:
"(cc) it is given to him in a manner authorised by a written agreement made, at any time before the giving of the notice, between him and the person giving the notice.
( ) A notice or other document to which this section applies is not duly given to a person if its text is transmitted to him by facsimile or other electronic means otherwise than by virtue of subsection (2) (cc) above.".

4.45 p.m.

Earl Howe: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 27.

During the earlier stages of the Bill the noble Lord, Lord Gallacher, introduced a number of amendments to Clause 35 (which was then Clause 34) and was particularly concerned that the position regarding service of notice by fax should be made clear. At Third Reading I assured your Lordships that we were working on an amendment to that clause but it was a complex area. The amendment is the result of our deliberations.

The first part of the amendment deletes the specific provision relating to the sending of notices by any delivery service where the delivery is recorded. That means that if there is a dispute, the onus will always be on the sender to prove that the notice was delivered.

2 May 1995 : Column 1357

Two new provisions are inserted. The first will give parties extra flexibility to agree other methods of serving written notice which may be used in addition to those listed in the Bill. The second new provision makes it clear that fax and other electronic methods can be used only if the parties have agreed in writing to their use. That will avoid confusion and will give landlords and tenants the opportunity to use the latest technology if they so wish.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No.27.—(Earl Howe.)

Lord Carter: My Lords, we welcome the amendment because it will add to the flexibility of the system. A problem may arise. The Government may find over time that, having specified "facsimile"—although I understand why they have done so —as other means of transmission develop such as Internet or e-mail (although that is a poor example) it may be necessary to amend the Bill. Otherwise those means of transmission will be excluded. Nevertheless, I understand the reasons behind the amendment.

On Question, Motion agreed to.


COMMONS AMENDMENTS
28Clause 37, page 19, leave out lines 4 to 7 and insert:
"(4) For the purposes of this Act a tenancy begins on the day on which, under the terms of the tenancy, the tenant is entitled to possession under that tenancy; and references in this Act to the beginning of the tenancy are references to that day.".
29Clause 38, page 19, line 14, column 1, leave out "beginning (of a tenancy)" and insert "begins, beginning (in relation to a tenancy)".

Earl Howe: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 28 and 29 en bloc, to which I spoke with Amendment No. 5.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 41 to 45 en bloc.—(Earl Howe.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.


COMMONS AMENDMENTS
30Clause 40, page 19, line 44, at end insert ", except that paragraph 9 of the Schedule does not extend to Northern Ireland.".
31In the schedule, page 21, line 10, at end insert:

"The Reserve and Auxiliary Forces (Protection of Civil Interests) Act 1951 (c. 65)

.—(1) Section 27 of the Reserve and Auxiliary Forces (Protection of Civil Interests) Act 1951 (renewal of tenancy expiring during period of service or within two months thereafter) shall be amended as follows.
(2) In subsection (1), for the words from 'are an agricultural holding' onwards there shall be substituted—
'(a) are an agricultural holding (within the meaning of the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986) held under a tenancy in relation to which that Act applies,
(b) are a holding (other than a holding excepted from this provision) held under a farm business tenancy, or
(c) consist of or comprise premises (other than premises excepted from this provision) licensed for the sale of intoxicating liquor for consumption on the premises.'.
(3) In subsection (5), after paragraph (b) there shall be inserted—

2 May 1995 : Column 1358

'(bb) the expressions "farm business tenancy" and "holding", in relation to such a tenancy, have the same meaning as in the Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995;'.
(4) After that subsection, there shall be inserted—
'(5A) In paragraph (b) of the proviso to subsection (1) of this section the reference to a holding excepted from the provision is a reference to a holding held under a farm business tenancy in which there is comprised a dwelling-house occupied by the person responsible for the control (whether as tenant or servant or agent of the tenant) of the management of the holding.'
(5) In subsection (6), for the words from the beginning to 'liquor' there shall be substituted 'In paragraph (c) of the proviso to subsection (1) of this section, the reference to premises excepted from the provision'.".

Earl Howe: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 30 and 31 en bloc.

The amendment to the schedule provides protection for reservists who have been called up or recalled for service around the time their tenancy would have ended. It applies to farm business tenancies which include a dwelling house occupied by the person responsible for the management of the holding. That is analogous to the provisions in Schedule 5 to the 1986 Act. It allows the tenant, in certain circumstances specified in the 1951 Act, if the landlord does not extend or renew the tenancy voluntarily, to apply to the courts for a renewal of the tenancy on terms set by the court.

As noble Lords may be aware, the Government's draft legislation for the reserve forces has just been published and comments are invited by 15th June. While it would have been possible to await that Bill and make provision for this contingency in that context, it seemed preferable to put a framework of protection in place from the start for reservists who are farm business tenants.

The amendment to Clause 40 makes clear that the position in Northern Ireland is not affected, since the rest of the Bill does not apply there.

With the leave of the House, I shall clarify one point which arose earlier in relation to the Evesham custom. I am advised that that custom applies mainly in the Evesham area, but it is available, in principle, to market gardens anywhere in England and Wales. However, in practice, it is very localised.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 30 and 31 en bloc.—(Earl Howe.)


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page