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Communities and Local Government

Volume 496: debated on Tuesday 14 July 2009

Leaseholders' Rights Bill

…Under the Social Landlords Discretionary Reduction of Service Charges (England) Directions 1997, landlords can also cap service charges if certain conditions are met, including if a leaseholder will suffer exceptional hardship. In 2002, we undertook a review of issues relating to major works service charges paid by local authority leaseholders. That was done because of concerns raised over high service charges that were being levied on local authority leaseholders, principally arising out of work being carried out to bring homes up to an acceptable standard under the decent homes programme. We learned that many local authorities, particularly in London, already offer a range of forms of assistance to their leaseholders. They offer a range of payment by instalment options; some agree to delay payment until the property is sold; others even offer a discount if the bill is paid in full promptly.

[Official Report, 26 June 2009, Vol. 494, c. 1093-1094.]

Letter of correction from Rosie Winterton:

An error has been identified in the second reading debate on the Leaseholders Rights Bill introduced by the hon. Member for Beckenham (Mrs. Lait) on 26 June 2009. The error consists of reference to an incorrect date (2002) for a particular review that was carried out. The correct date should be 2006.

The full statement made by me was as follows:

“Under the Social Landlords Discretionary Reduction of Service Charges (England) Directions 1997, landlords can also cap service charges if certain conditions are met, including if a leaseholder will suffer exceptional hardship. In 2002, we undertook a review of issues relating to major works service charges paid by local authority leaseholders. That was done because of concerns raised over high service charges that were being levied on local authority leaseholders, principally arising out of work being carried out to bring homes up to an acceptable standard under the decent homes programme. We learned that many local authorities, particularly in London, already offer a range of forms of assistance to their leaseholders. They offer a range of payment by instalment options; some agree to delay payment until the property is sold; others even offer a discount if the bill is paid in full promptly.”

The correct statement should have been:

…Under the Social Landlords Discretionary Reduction of Service Charges (England) Directions 1997, landlords can also cap service charges if certain conditions are met, including if a leaseholder will suffer exceptional hardship. In 2006, we undertook a review of issues relating to major works service charges paid by local authority leaseholders. That was done because of concerns raised over high service charges that were being levied on local authority leaseholders, principally arising out of work being carried out to bring homes up to an acceptable standard under the decent homes programme. We learned that many local authorities, particularly in London, already offer a range of forms of assistance to their leaseholders. They offer a range of payment by instalment options; some agree to delay payment until the property is sold; others even offer a discount if the bill is paid in full promptly.