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Clause 14—(Provisions Where Tenant Not Ordered To Give Up Possession)

Volume 531: debated on Tuesday 27 July 1954

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Lords Amendment: In page 13, line 30, at end insert:

"(6) Where by virtue of subsection (3) or (5) of this section the landlord gives a landlord's notice proposing a statutory tenancy which specifies as the date of termination a date earlier than six months after the giving of the notice, subsection (2) of section seven of this Act shall apply in relation to the notice with the substitution, for references to the period of two months ending with the date of termination specified in the notice and the beginning of that period, of references to the period of three months beginning with the giving of the notice and the end of that period."

I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

The House will remember that on Report in this House we made a series of Amendments which substantially recast the time-table for negotiation and application to the court. I think,pro tanto at any rate, the Amendments were welcomed by hon. Members opposite. That involved the slight change in the machinery of Part I which is made by this Amendment, and that is why the Government moved it in Committee in another place.

We are grateful to the Home Secretary for his explanation, but I wonder whether he would carry the matter a little further, because several of us on this side of the House are not certain about the machinery here—and this is largely a matter of machinery. The relevant part of the Amendment reads,

"the landlord gives a landlord's notice proposing a statutory tenancy which specifies as the date of termination a date earlier than six months. …"
I presume this means that if he gives notice saying that the existing leasehold arrangement must come to an end and that he proposes to offer a statutory tenancy under certain conditions, then, if that period is less than six months, there will be at least a minimum period of negotiation for the landlord and tenant of up to three months. Will this be so in practice? Supposing the landlord merely gave a two months' notice: does that mean that the parties have actually three months in which to negotiate? If so, it seems to me that the Amendment is rather curiously worded. I may be wrong about this, but I have discussed it not only with hon. Members but also with those interested outside the House and the position is not at all clear.

The hon. Gentleman has reached the right answer. The effect of the Amendment is that where less than six months' notice is given the negotiations can continue until the end of three months from the giving of the notice, which is what the hon. Gentleman said.

Question put, and agreed to.