Shatter announcement 'shortly' on upward-only rent reviews


AN ANNOUNCEMENT on the future of Government plans to end upward-only commercial rent reviews in existing leases is to be made “shortly”.

Upward-only rent reviews were banned by the last government and legislation to effectively remove such clauses from existing leases is being examined by the Attorney General. The proposal would mean tenants who have an existing lease and who can demonstrate their rent is higher than the market dictates can appeal to their landlord and ultimately the courts to have a new rent set.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has previously indicated he would introduce the required changes as part of the Landlord and Tenant (Business Leases Rent Review) Bill 2011, the heads of which were published this year. Further details of the legislation are due to be published by the end of this month.

Asked about the timetable for the introduction of the changes, a spokesman for Mr Shatter said yesterday the Minister would “make an announcement shortly” on the Government’s intentions.

The comment follows a meeting between members of Retail Excellence Ireland (REI), which represents the State’s retailers, and officials of the Department of the Taoiseach. At the meeting, a number of issues such as VAT and the rent-review legislation were raised in the context of the forthcoming budget. It is understood officials were unable to give a fixed date for the introduction of the necessary legislation to end upward-only rent reviews.

David Fitzsimons of Retail Excellence, who attended the meeting, said it was not understood the legislation had been shelved.

“That would be an incorrect interpretation of what happened,” he said. “We understand the Attorney General is looking at some difficulties and there is a very large legislative programme, but we were not told it had been dropped.”

Mr Shatter’s press spokesman said he was not in a position to expand on the issue other than to say the Minister would make an announcement “shortly”.

Mr Shatter has told the Dáil the legislation was forwarded to the Attorney General “for further examination and development, having regard to the complexities attendant on dealing with existing leases”.

He had received representations from property interests “including the Society of Chartered Surveyors, Jones Lang LaSalle, DKM Economic Consultants, Retail Ireland, Retail Excellence Ireland and the Irish Association of Investment Managers”.