Wednesday, 18 May 2011
Dáil Éireann Debate
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): As the Deputy will be aware, the Programme for Government indicates that legislation will be introduced to end upward only rent reviews for existing leases. I am engaged in on-going consultations with the Attorney General in order to determine how this matter can best be expedited.
In addition to the legislation which has been specified in the Programme for Government, I am also very conscious of the fact that one of the difficulties in relation to rent reviews is the absence of readily accessible and accurate information in order to determine the market rent payable in respect of any given set of commercial premises. The Deputy will recall that I arranged for the restoration of the Property Services (Regulation) Bill 2009 to the Order Paper. The Bill is now awaiting Committee Stage. I intend to bring forward amendments to the Bill to provide for the establishment of a public database containing relevant details of letting arrangements and rent reviews in the commercial property market. The Property Services Regulatory Authority will have responsibility for the management of this database.
The recommendation regarding the database was contained in a Working Group report which was published in August of last year. That report also contained a recommendation for the adoption, by landlords and tenants alike, of a rent review arbitration code which was drawn up by the experts who participated in the Group and which was appended to the report. A particular feature of the code is that it contains detailed provisions dealing with the production of comparative evidence in relation to property transactions and it also places a firm duty on all parties to disclose all relevant information which is in their possession. As matters stand, parties are free to specify that the code should apply in relation to rent review arbitrations. I welcome the endorsement of the code by a number of significant stakeholders in the sector.
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