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Sunday 18 March 2018

Wording of lease is key for those seeking a deal

Donal Buckley

Hard-pressed commercial property tenants around the country will welcome Mr Justice Charleton's decision to allow Bewley's Cafe to reduce the rent to market levels.

On the basis that rents have halved in the past six years, Bewley's could save up to €730,000 on the annual €1.46m rent for its famous Grafton St landmark cafe. The final figure will be decided in arbitration.

In the meantime, retailers and other businesses will be dusting down their leases to check the precise wording and see if it will allow them to negotiate rent reductions.

However, if the wording spells out that the rent is upwards only, they are unlikely to have much hope.

In the Bewley's lease, there was no reference to upward only. There has been much speculation that Bewley's landlord, Ickendel Ltd, which is owned by Johnny Ronan, whose loans are in NAMA, would have had to get the state agency's approval before he paid for this court action.

This has led to further speculation NAMA was supporting it in order to prevent a flood of cases and rent cuts on properties it controls.

Irish Independent

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