Ground rent tenants’ right to acquire freehold titles clarified

Charlie Flanagan
Charlie Flanagan

A new law clarifying the rights of certain ground rent tenants to acquire the freehold title of their properties has come into effect.

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

The law aims to address uncertainty arising from a Supreme Court ruling in 2012 in a case involving ground rent tenants in Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan.

Mr Flanagan said: “I am pleased to bring this updating of ground rents legislation into force. This is a complex but important area of landlord and tenant law.

“The Government is committed to upholding the right of ground rent tenants to acquire the freehold title of their properties and the enactment of this legislation will clarify the scope of this right and remove uncertainties and confusion that have arisen as a result of certain court rulings.”

The new law originated as a private member’s bill in the Seanad, but was adopted by the Government has part of its legislative programme.

In order to reduce the risk of legal challenge, Mr Flanagan established an expert group with its membership drawn from the Attorney General’s Office, the Department of Justice and external experts, including land-law expert Professor John Wylie, to examine the bill’s proposals and recommend any necessary changes.

The Government’s amendments to the bill, based on the expert group’s recommendations, were subsequently accepted by the Oireachtas.

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