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Written Answers - Proposed Legislation

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 754 No. 3

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 358.  Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath  asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter  the position regarding legislation (details supplied). [6367/12]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The Deputy will recall that the Government announced in December last that it had decided not to proceed with legislation in the area referred to in his question. There was a substantial concern that any legislative scheme involving interference in the contractual relationships of private parties would find it extremely difficult to survive a Constitutional challenge. In addition, at this difficult time in our economic circumstances, the Government was advised that any model proposed would require the payment of compensation to landlords whose rights were infringed, in order to ensure that the proposal would be compatible with the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights. The Government was strongly of the view that payment of compensation to landlords in such circumstances could not be justified in the current economic climate.

I am well aware of the difficulties in which parts of the retail sector finds itself. The Minister for Finance outlined in his Budget speech that NAMA can play a role in dealing with the problems caused by upward only rent reviews which apply to NAMA properties. NAMA has published on its website its policy guidance which will inform the approach to be taken where relevant tenants are experiencing difficulties in paying rents. I would also note the existence of a rent review arbitration code which was developed by an expert group whose membership was drawn from all relevant stakeholders and which provides a mechanism to deal with the resolution of rent review disputes in the commercial property sector.

While it has not proved possible to bring forward legislation in this area, I urge those landlords who have not yet engaged with their tenants to do so and to have regard to the realities of the market. It is important to remember that a tenant paying some rent, even at a lower level, is of more use to a landlord than an empty property which is not attracting any rent at all.


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