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Written Answers. - Landlord and Tenant Legislation.

Wednesday, 8 May 1996

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 465 No. 1

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 159. Mr. S. Brennan Information on Seamus Brennan Zoom on Seamus Brennan  asked the Minister for Justice Information on Nora Owen Zoom on Nora Owen  if her attention has been drawn to the anomaly in the Landlord and Tenant (Ground Rents) (No. 2) Act, 1978 which confirms the right to buy out ground rents but does not allow of vesting the freehold of houses containing flats in view of the fact that the Act only applies to houses in single occupancy; her views on whether this situation is satisfactory; the plans, if any, she has to introduce an amendment to the Act to cover all leasees with premises and leases of more then 150 years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9100/96]

Minister for Justice (Mrs. Owen): Information on Nora Owen Zoom on Nora Owen Part III of the Landlord and Tenant (Ground Rents) (No. 2) Act, 1978 — the provisions of which were continued in force indefinitely by the Landlord and Tenant (Ground Rents) (Amendment) Act, 1987 — provides for a special procedure for the vesting of a fee simple in dwellinghouses. A separate and self contained flat in premises divided into two or more such flats is not a dwelling within the meaning of the Act and, accordingly, the special procedure contained in Part III of the Act does not apply to such premises. The question of acquiring the fee simple in relation to such premises is dealt with in other aspects of the Landlord and Tenant code — for example, provisions of the Landlord and Tenant (Ground Rents) Act, 1967.

I understand that the primary purpose of Part III of the 1978 Act was to provide that owner-occupiers of dwellinghouses would have a special procedure available to acquire readily and relatively inexpensively the fee simpe in their property. Dwellinghouses which are let for commercial purposes give rise to different considerations. I am satisfied that Part III of the Act has worked well in practice — as is evidenced by the number of householders who have availed of the scheme to buy out their ground rents — and I have no plans at present to widen the categories of persons who may avail of the procedure under that part of the Act. If, however, the Deputy wishes to let me have a detailed submission putting forward any case for such change I will, of course, arrange to have it examined.

I am not clear what particular point the Deputy has in mind by referring to leases of more than 150 years as the Act in question makes no distinction on the basis of that timescale.

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