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Discrimination: Consent For Assignment Or Sub-Letting

Volume 897: debated on Saturday 16 August 1975

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Lords Amendment: No. 17, in page 21, line 3, at end insert the following Clause A—

"A.—(1) Where the licence or consent of the landlord or of any other person is required for the disposal to any person of premises in Great Britain comprised in a tenancy, it is unlawful for the landlord or other person to discriminate against a woman by withholding the licence or consent for disposal of the premises to her.
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply if—
  • (a) the person withholding a licence or consent, or a near relative of his ("the relevant occupier") resides, and intends to continue to reside, on the premises, and
  • (b) there is on the premises, in addition to the accommodation occupied by the relevant occupier, accommodation (not being storage accommodation or means of access) shared by the relevant occupier with other persons residing on the premises who are not members of his household, and
  • (c) the premises are small premises as defined in section 31(2).
  • (3) In this section "tenancy" means a tenancy created by a lease or sub-lease, by an agreement for a lease or sub-lease or by a tenancy agreement or in pursuance of any enactment; and "disposal", in relation to premises comprised in a tenancy, includes assignment or assignation of the tenancy and sub-letting or parting with possession of the premises or any part of the premises.
    (4) This section applies to tenancies created before the passing of this Act, as well as to others."

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

    The purpose of this new clause is to deal with what I think the House will agree is a lacuna in the provisions of the Bill dealing with the disposal of premises. Subject to the small dwellings exceptions in Clause 31, Clause 30(1) makes it unlawful to discriminate in the disposal of premises. This would deal with the situation in which a landlord refused to grant a woman a lease on the ground of her sex, and it would also make it unlawful for a tenant to discriminate by refusing to assign the lease or sublet the premises to a woman on the ground of her sex.

    The new clause is designed to deal with the situation in which a tenancy agreement in respect of provisions covered by the Bill provides that the landlord's licence or consent is required to assignment or subletting and in which the landlord withholds his licence or consent on the grounds of the prospective assignee. It is right that this kind of discrimination should not escape the Bill. I commend the new clause to the House.

    Question put and agreed to.