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New law clarifies certain ground tenants’ right to freehold titles

17 Jan 2020 / legislation Print

Law on ground tenants’ right to freehold titles

Legislation aimed at clarifying the rights of certain ground tenants to acquire the freehold title of their properties comes into effect today (Friday, 17 January).

Justice minister Charlie Flanagan yesterday signed the commencement order to bring the Landlord and Tenant (Ground Rents) (Amendment) Act 2019 into operation.

Some uncertainty about the scope of such rights had arisen from a Supreme Court ruling in 2012 in a case involving ground rent tenants in Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan.

Ground rent is rent paid on leases that are at least 99 years old.

The act originated as a Seanad Private Members Bill, but was adopted by the Government as part of its legislative programme.

Legal challenges

In an effort to reduce the risk of future legal challenges to its proposals, the minister set up an expert group drawn from the Attorney General’s office, the Department of Justice and Equality, and external experts, including land-law expert Professor John Wylie, to look at the bill’s proposals, and recommend any necessary changes.

Amendments to the bill, based on these recommendations, were subsequently accepted by both the Dáil and Seanad.  

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