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Baroness Hamwee: I must confess that I am too weary to know whether I am comforted. I do not know whether guidance can enable enforcement of an otherwise unenforceable agreement but it would clearly be inappropriate to pursue the matter at this hour. I shall read, in the light of day, what the Minister said. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Baroness Hamwee moved Amendment No. 270BD:


Page 175, line 48, at end insert--

("Extension of certain rights to tenants of registered social landlords

. In Chapter I of Part I of Housing Act 1988 (assured tenancies) after section 19 (restriction on levy of distress for rent) insert--
"Extension of certain rights to tenants of registered social landlords.
19A.--(1) Unless otherwise stated, references in this section to a section or a Schedule are references to a section of or a Schedule to the Housing Act 1985.
(2) The provisions of sections 87 to 90 (succession on death of tenant) shall apply on the death of an assured tenant of a registered social landlord as if he were a secure tenant and section 17 of this Act (succession to assured periodic tenancy by spouse) shall not have application in such cases.
(3) The provisions of sections 91 to 94 (assignment, lodgers and subletting) shall apply to an assured tenant of a registered social landlord as if he were a secure tenant and section 15 of this Act (limited prohibition on assignment etc. without consent) shall not have application in such cases.
(4) Sections 96 to 101 (which deal with tenant's improvements) and section 105 (consultation on matters of housing management) shall apply to an assured tenant of a registered social landlord as if he were a secure tenant".").

The noble Baroness said: This is a similar amendment to extend the rights enjoyed by law by secure tenants of registered social landlords to assured tenants. At present the right is not a matter of law but of grace and guidance. The Minister has just referred to the tenants' guarantee. I seek to make the matter one of statutory right. I understand that there are quite frequently disputes as to whether someone has succeeded and the suitability or appropriateness of re-housing following succession. A significant number of cases are resolved only just short of court proceedings. I beg to move.

Lord Lucas: I think I can fully support the spirit behind this amendment which seeks to extend to assured tenants of registered social landlords a number of statutory rights currently enjoyed by secure tenants. But I do not believe the amendment itself is necessary.

Clearly it is reasonable that assured tenants of registered social landlords should be treated no less favourably than secure tenants. But there is more than

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one way of achieving this. Assured tenants already enjoy the rights which the noble Baroness wishes to extend to them. But they enjoy them as contractual rather than statutory rights.

Housing associations and the other registered social landlords introduced by this Bill are and will be regulated by the housing corporations. The corporations have a power under the Housing Associations Act 1985 to issue guidance approved by the Secretary of State. They have in fact done so. If landlords do not comply with the guidance the corporations have various remedies available to bring them into line.

One element of this guidance is the Tenants' Guarantee. This document sets out very clearly what rights and services tenants are entitled to under an assured tenancy. All the rights which the noble Baroness wishes to see extended to assured tenants are already set out in paragraphs C6 and C7 on page 5 of the current version of the Tenants' Guarantee. These paragraphs list the additional contractual rights which the corporation advises landlords to include within an assured tenancy agreement.

The Housing Corporation's regulatory system is tried and tested and works well. I am sure that the noble Baroness agrees that what is important is that assured tenants should have similar rights to secure tenants, not the mechanisms used to achieve this. They have and will have those rights. If the noble Baroness knows of any circumstances where those rights have been abrogated or not granted properly, I hope that she will draw them to our attention or that of the Housing Corporation.

Baroness Hamwee: Mechanisms are important. I thank the Minister, and beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Schedule 15 agreed to.

Clause 195 agreed to.

[Amendment No. 270C not moved.]

Clauses 196 to 199 agreed to.

[Amendment No. 270D not moved.]

Schedule 16 [Repeals]:

Lord Lucas moved Amendment No. 271:


Page 176, line 9, column 3, leave out ("32") and insert ("33").

The noble Lord said: I spoke to this with Amendment No. 185. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Lucas moved Amendment No. 272:


Page 176, column 3, leave out line 11.

The noble Lord said: Amendment No. 272 concerns Section 60 of the Housing Associations Act 1985. It is, I fear, one which slipped through the net at an earlier stage of the Bill. Before Report in another place, Schedule 3 contained a long list of minor amendments and repeals to other legislation which were consequential on Part I of the Bill. At Report stage those amendments were taken out of the Bill because they were essentially routine. They will be included in an order which we intend to make under Clause 54 later in

25 Jun 1996 : Column 910

the summer. That is a point which we discussed earlier. One of those amendments concerns Section 58 of the 1985 Act under which local authorities have powers to promote and assist housing associations and to which Section 60 is directly linked.

We therefore consider that Sections 58 and 60 should be dealt with together in the order rather than separately. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

12.15 a.m.

Lord Lucas moved Amendments Nos. 273 to 275A:


Page 176, line 19, column 3, at end insert--
("Section 79(6) to (10).In section 92(2), the words from "but" to the end.")

Page 177, line 2, column 3, leave out ("56(4),").
Page 177, line 12, at end insert--
("1987 c.31.Landlord and Tenant Act 1987.In section 6(9), the words "(subject to section 9(9))".In section 9, in subsection (1)(a), the words "by virtue of any provision of sections 6 to 8", in subsection (1)(b), the words in parentheses and, in subsection (9), the definition of "the protected interest".In section 20(1), in the definition of "the protected interest", the words "(subject to section 9(9))".")

Page 177, line 12, at end insert--
("1987 c. 31.Landlord and Tenant Act 1987.Section 24(2)(a)(ii).")

The noble Lord said: I beg to move Amendments Nos. 273 to 275A en bloc. I spoke to them with Amendments Nos. 188, 242, 251 and 246C respectively.

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Lord Lucas moved Amendment No. 275B:


Page 182, line 34, column 3, at end insert--
("In Schedule 6, in paragraphs 5(1) and 6(1), the words "with the consent of the Treasury".")

The noble Lord said: Paragraph 9(1)(d) of Schedule 15 abolishes the requirements for Treasury consent for payment of remuneration, allowances and pensions to the chairman, deputy chairman, and members of the Housing Corporation Board, as contained in paragraphs 5 and 6 of Schedule 6 to the Housing Associations Act 1985. The repeals of the relevant words in those paragraphs do not appear in Part XIII of Schedule 16 and the amendment corrects that omission. I beg to move.

25 Jun 1996 : Column 911

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 16, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 200 agreed to.

Earl Russell moved Amendment No. 275C:


After Clause 200, insert the following new clause--

Same sex relationships

(" .--(1) In this Act and the enactments set out in subsection (3) below, references to persons living together as husband and wife shall be treated as including persons of the same sex living together in a corresponding relationship and "member of the family" shall be construed accordingly.
(2) In this Act and the enactments set out in subsection (3) below, where "member of the family" would include a person living together with another as husband and wife it shall also include a person of the same sex living together with another in a corresponding relationship.
(3) The enactments referred to in subsections (1) and (2) above are the Housing Act 1985 and the Housing Act 1988.
(4) In the enactments set out in subsection (6) below, references to persons living together as husband and wife shall be treated as including persons of the same sex living together in a corresponding relationship.
(5) Subject to subsections (7) and (8) below, for the avoidance of doubt it is hereby declared that in the enactments set out in subsection (6) below, a person living together with another as that other's husband or wife is a member of that other's family and this includes a person living together with another person of the same sex in a corresponding relationship.
(6) The enactments referred to in subsections (4) and (5) above are the Rent Act 1977, the Rent (Agriculture) Act 1976, the Prevention From Eviction Act 1977 and Part VIII of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989.
(7) In Schedule 1 to the Rent Act 1977 references to "member of the family" do not include a person living together with the original tenant as husband or wife for the purposes of that person succeeding the tenant.
(8) In sections 3 and 4 of the Rent (Agriculture) Act 1976 references to "member of the family" do not include a person living together with the original occupier as husband or wife for the purposes of that person succeeding the occupier.").

The noble Earl said: This is another of a series of amendments that deals with succession to tenancies. This point concerns succession to tenancies among same sex couples. When two people live together, care for each other and possibly care for each other through a long terminal illness, it seems extremely harsh that on the death of one party the survivor is thrown out on to the street. I cannot see that this is in the public interest. It is almost always better that survivors of a partnership should be allowed to stay on in the place which they know and with which they are familiar.

The right to succession in tenancies concerns a number of different types of succession. There has been a considerable amount of debate about local authority tenancies. In 1993 in response to a question from my noble friend Lord Falkland, the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, said that the Government intend shortly to issue guidance to all local housing authorities. That guidance has just been issued and I welcome it. I am glad to see it.

However, we have also to consider tenancies in the private sector. Those cannot be altered simply by guidance because guidance cannot purchase on the common law of property. In terms of common humanity

25 Jun 1996 : Column 912

and common sense it is always a good idea that we should recognise the world as it is. In the world as it is, these are partnerships as in any other partnerships. Therefore, it makes sense that succession to tenancies should happen to them as to any other. I beg to move.


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