Lease register must be revamped, claim SCSI
The Commercial Lease Register lacks crucial information and needs to be updated drastically for it to be relevant to the wider market, a top industry body has warned.
The Society of Chartered Surveyors of Ireland said the lack of detail around the size of leases and other data points, as well as an inability to run broad searches, make it impossible to use the register in a coherent way.
As it stands, tenants are required to fill in a "commercial lease return form" outlining details such as the address of the property, length of lease, rent and floor area that is being leased. However the form itself is seen as overly complex and a review of the database by the Sunday Independent found numerous returns that lacked detail critical to the terms of the lease.
Unlike the residential property price register, only basic information can be searched for on the commercial database. If a user wants more detailed information, they must download a separate file for each property being researched.
That means that, unlike its residential counterpart, the detailed results cannot be exported to a spreadsheet and managed in bulk. As a result, research on the commercial register takes much longer than should be required.
Brian Meldon, who heads the commercial agency group at the SCSI, said the register "could be a goldmine but needs significant work to make it valuable".
"There is some vital information in the Commercial Lease Register, but it is difficult to use, incomplete, and overly complex," he said.
"The commercial lease return form is where the real information is but not every property would seem to have a return attached to it or filled in correctly.
"The idea is good and in some cases, the information is good, but there needs to be more awareness amongst commercial occupiers of their obligation to file a return so as to improve the quality of the data available on the register which will ultimately benefit all stakeholders in the sector as the correct market information will be available," Mr Meldon added.
The problems with the commercial lease register came as the the SCSI warned that businesses in Dublin are becoming increasingly unsatisfied with the state of commercial property in the capital.
Barely a fifth of businesses surveyed said they were satisfied with the quality of premises available for them, while 55pc of respondents said they believed there was a shortage of suitable office space for their type of business if they were to leave their current premises.
The SCSI said it was "concerned" at the survey results.