Saturday 18 November 2017

Gene Kerrigan: No room in rent debate for political dabbling

If past experience has taught us anything, it's that decisions on issue must be made in court

Gene Kerrigan

Gene Kerrigan

LAST week's decision by Judge Peter Charleton in the Bewley case injected new life into the controversy over "upward only" rent reviews. The issue has been bubbling away since the collapse of the economy in 2008 – occasionally picked up and used by politicians, then discarded.

Landlords of commercial premises with "upward only" clauses insist that when the rent is reviewed it can only go up – never down, regardless of market prices, or the fate of the business renting the premises. As a result, businesses tied into contracts at Celtic Tiger rent levels have been cutting back jobs and/or closing.

Politicians have found the issue to be useful. Fine Gael promised before the last election to introduce legislation to protect tenants. Labour held an election canvass launch in a Grafton Street shop, wherein Pat Rabbitte spoke eloquently on the need for change.

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