Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Fourth Report



Extract from Law Commission report Landlord and Tenant: Report on the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 Part II (Law Com No 17, 1969)

  1. Exclusion of provisions of Part II by authorised agreement and duration of short tenancies excluded from Part II of principal Act

  1. Many of those whom we have consulted feel that the Act makes insufficient provision for excluding short-term tenancies from the operation of Part II. There are many cases where the landlord would be willing to let on a temporary basis and a tenant would be willing to accept such a tenancy. This may happen, for example, where the landlord has obtained possession and intends to sell, demolish or reconstruct the property but is not ready to do so immediately. He will, however, understandably, be reluctant to effect a temporary letting if he thereby risks having to oppose a tenant's claim for a new tenancy under the Act when the time comes. In many cases, therefore, he may prefer, having got possession, to leave the premises unoccupied. We agree that section 43(3) does not meet such cases satisfactorily, and we appreciate that our proposals to invalidate notices to terminate given in advance (see paragraph 30 above) would of itself remove a method sometimes used to overcome this difficulty.

33.  There appears to be two possible solutions; first, to extend the period in section 43(3), for which temporary lettings can be made without attracting the rights of renewal under Part II of the Act, to six months; and secondly, to permit lettings outside the Act for longer periods, provided that they are sanctioned by the court. We feel that the two solutions are not incompatible and that both should be adopted. The permissible period of three months as the maximum for tenancies outside the Act will often be too short to be of practical use. We think it would be reasonable to extend the period to six months. We also accept that there may be cases where a tenant is willing, for good reasons, to accept a tenancy for more than six months without rights under the Act. We believe that this should be possible, but only where there is the safeguard that the court has sanctioned the agreement in advance. This safeguard would be similar to that contained in section 33(6) of the Housing Act 1961 whereby the court can authorise terms in a lease which exclude the repairing obligations normally implied by section 32 of that Act.

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