Wednesday, 28 November 2007: The Law Reform Commission’s Report on the Law of Landlord and Tenant will be formally launched by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr Brian Lenihan TD, later today.
BACKGROUND: UPDATING AND SIMPLIFYING THE LAW
This Report being launched today follows from two Consultation Papers published by the Commission on landlord and tenant law, a Consultation Paper on Business Tenancies and a Consultation Paper on the General Law of Landlord and Tenant. The Report contains the Commission’s final recommendations concerning these aspects of landlord and tenant law, which are incorporated into a draft Landlord and Tenant Bill attached to the Report.
Much of the draft Bill applies to commercial rather than residential landlord and tenant law. The draft Bill is based on a number of guiding principles, including:
- Removal of legislation that militates against commercial practice and the operation of free market choice, so as to facilitate creation of agreements free of unintended and unforeseen consequences;
- Recasting legislation which creates uncertainties or has proved to be
- Introducing new provisions to meet what are perceived to be gaps in existing
- Consolidating existing legislation (together with any new provisions to be
introduced) in order to make the law much more accessible and easily
MAIN CONTENT AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF REPORT
The draft Landlord and Tenant Bill in the Report deals with the general law of landlord and tenant and also the specific subject of statutory rights relating to business tenancies. The general law of landlord and tenant describes the key legal features of the relationship between landlord and tenant, which is based on the contract between the parties. On this aspect, the draft Bill:
- Clarifies the extent of the general obligations of the landlord and tenant, in particular where the parties fail to make specific provision in the lease or tenancy agreement;
- Clarifies and modernises the rules on terminating a lease or tenancy (currently called “notice to quit”) and deals with the rights to a new tenancy or the restrictions on those rights;
- Proposes to circumscribe the current blanket exemptions of the State as landlord in business tenancies;
- Proposes the repeal and replacement of pre-1922 statutes concerning landlord and tenant law, notably “Deasy’s Act,” the Landlord and Tenant Law Amendment Act Ireland 1860.
In terms of the discrete aspect of landlord and tenant law concerning business tenancies, the draft Bill replaces, with reform, the current legislation contained in the Landlord and Tenant (Amendment) Acts 1980, 1984, 1989 and 1994.
OTHER ASPECTS OF LANDLORD AND TENANT LAW
The law of landlord and tenant is a vast area and the Report being launched today deals with significant elements of this, but it does not deal with all aspects. An area not covered specifically is residential tenancies, which is already dealt with in the Residential Tenancies Act 2004. Nor does the Report deal specifically with agricultural tenancies (relatively rare in Ireland nowadays), although farming leases are covered to the extent that they involve a business. Finally, the Report does not
deal with ground rents legislation, which the Commission considers is such a complex area that it deserves a separate study. The Commission notes that a constitutional challenge to the existing ground rents legislation is currently pending in the Supreme Court (Shirley v A. O'Gorman & Co Ltd).