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Clause 11—(Subletting Of Crofts)

Volume 643: debated on Wednesday 5 July 1961

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I beg to move, in page 12, line 39, to leave out from the beginning to the end of the subsection and to insert:

  • (a) where it was entered into without the consent in writing of the landlord of the croft, then if within six months from the commencement of this Act the landlord and the crofter intimate jointly to the Commission that the sublease has been entered into and furnish the Commission with the name of the subtenant and the duration of the sublease, the sublease shall be held to be valid as from the date of such intimation;
  • (b) where it was entered into with the consent in writing of the landlord, the sublease shall become null and void on the expiry of six months from the commencement of this Act unless before the expiry of that period the crofter has intimated to the Commission that the sublease has been entered into and has furnished the Commission with the name of the subtenant and the duration of the sublease.
  • I suggest that it would be convenient to discuss at the same time the two later Amendments in the name of the Secretary of State, in Clause 13, page 17, line 23, and in Clause 14, page 18, line 12.

    Yes, Sir Norman. The first of these Amendments is designed to simplify subsection (1) of Clause 11, as amended in Committee, to ensure uniformity of treatment of the three classes of sub-tenant at present mentioned in the Clause. The first part of Clause 11 is a transitional provision. It deals with three kinds of sublease. The first are those entered into before the commencement of the Bill and without the written consent of the landlord. The second are those entered into between the publication of the Bill and its operation as an Act with the written consent of the landlord. Thirdly, there are those entered into before the publication of the Bill with the written consent of the landlord.

    To simplify matters, the Amendment proposes that Clause 11 (1) shall deal with only two kinds of croft subleases, both of them voluntary and both of them entered into before the date on which the Bill commences to operate. The first kind of sublease dealt with in paragraph (a) of the Amendment is the pre-Act sublease—the one to which I refer as the "illegal" sublease—that is, the one which did not have the written consent of the landlord when it was entered into. The Amendment proposes that such a sublease shall become valid if within the period of six months following the commencement of the Act, the landlord and crofter intimate to the Commission that the sublease has been entered into and if they supply the Commission with details of the arrangement.

    The second kind of sublease, dealt with in paragraph (b) of the Amendment, is the legal sublease validly entered into before the commencement of the Act—that is, with the written consent of the landlord.

    8.0 p.m.

    The Amendment provides that such a sublease, which is entirely valid, shall become null and void unless within a period of six months after the commencement of this Act, the crofter intimates to the Commission that a sublease has been entered into and furnishes it with the name of the sub-tenant and the duration of the sublease. I should like to stress that in neither case is the consent of the Commission to the sublease necessary. All that is required is that the sublease has to be intimated to the Commission within a period of six months. We had a good deal of discussion on this point in the Standing Committee, and what we have done here simplifies the matter and also meets with the general wishes of the Committee. The other two Amendments are consequential.

    We are again very grateful to the hon. Gentleman for making this Amendment. We had quite a considerable discussion in the Standing Committee about the position of these subleases, which he has described as illegal subleases, that is, subleases without the consent of the landlord. From our side of the Committee, we argued rather strongly that these people, although they had, technically speaking, acted illegally in subletting the land, nevertheless had done something for the benefit of the community and certainly for the benefit of the croft. They were ensuring, by subletting in this way, what all of us wished, namely, the cultivation of the croft. We asked that the position should be regularised by a provision of this kind being written into the Bill, and we are very grateful to the Joint Under-Secretary for having met us.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.