Greedy landlords seeking rent hikes as businesses go to the wall must be severely dealt with
Fine Gael Cork Senator, Jerry Buttimer has today (Thursday) called for the Tánaiste to comprehensively deal with the practice of upward only rent reviews as greedy landlords continue to pin hard pressed retailers for rent increases.
“The practice of upward only rent reviews, a damaging mechanism which prevents commercial rents from falling has, in theory, been dealt with for new commercial leases by legislation designed to outlaw the custom. This, however, only serves to highlight the crippling impact ‘legacy leases’, which exist when a business takes over an already existing lease, are having on other retailers who continue to suffer exorbitant increases.
“The practice of continually pressing for rent hikes, is without doubt threatening jobs in Cork by putting unrealistic demands on tenants, many of whom are struggling to cope with reduced revenues and a downward trend in business.
“The situation has reached crisis point in parts of Cork, with some of the larger retailers in Wilton Shopping Centre threatening to take action by withholding the payment of rent.
“Many sole traders, however, are fearful of taking on the bigger landlords as their survival becomes less secure day by day. Reports from one retailer outline how one avaricious landlord sought a 425% increase during rental fee renegotiations.
“While the introduction of section 132 of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009, which covers new commercial leases, is to be welcomed it stops short in dealing comprehensively with this issue. Fine Gael, on the other hand, set out wide-ranging proposals, through our Enterprise Spokesperson, Leo Varadkar, which would outlaw upward only review for all businesses.
“Fianna Fáil’s record in creating favourable conditions for enterprise has been abysmal to date. It is imperative now that the issue is addressed and that the current legislation is amended to ensure that people doing business can operate and trade in an environment that is competitive and which allows them to stay alive and secure the few remaining jobs we have left.”