Landlord and Tenant Law can be divided into three main areas; Commercial Leases, Residential Lettings and Ground Rents.
1. Commercial leases
Many businesses occupy their premises under a commercial lease. The length of these leases ranges between a number of months to twenty or more years. Leases often provide for periodic rent reviews. We can advise on recent changes to the law concerning upward only rent review. Many leases are very complex and will contain numerous provisions relating to service charges, insurance, and permitted use. Leases will also attract stamp duty and may be liable for VAT. It is essential to obtain legal advice before signing a commercial lease. A good knowledge of the statutory background governing the rights and obligations arising in this area is very important as the written Lease will not always tell the full story in the relationship between Landlord and Tenant. We will use our expertise in drafting in your interest and will suggest terms and clauses to help protect your interests.
2. Residential lettings
These leases are normally for short periods, typically twelve months. The lease does not normally attract stamp duty or VAT, however the letting must be registered with the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) and serious difficulties arise in relation to the enforcement of rights and obligations where registration has not occurred. While domestic lettings can be created informally it is not advisable to have a “verbal lease”, as disputes are more difficult to deal with. Disputes typically concern deposits, rent increases, damage and termination of the lease. We can advise on and draw up a residential lease for you. We can advise and assist in relation to the registration of the tenancy and provide practical assistance in respect of applications and dealings with the PRTB.
3. Ground Rents
Many houses and properties in Ireland are owned not with a freehold title, but under a long lease with a small “ground rent”. Historically builders of housing schemes gave purchasers a lease for a term of between 99 and 999 years. Rents of £5 to £20 per annum were not uncommon. Since 1978 this type of lease cannot be created (apartments and duplexes are an exception), but many old ground rent leases still exist. Problems arise when the remaining term of years runs low. In most cases these leases can be converted into freehold titles.
Owners of apartments and duplex units will typically have a long lease with service charges and a nominal rent. The management company will act as landlord, and usually employs management agents to take care of day to day operations. These leases cannot be converted into freeholds.
If your property is held under a ground rent lease, we can provide legal advice if you are considering the possibility of “buying out” the ground rent and converting it into a freehold title.
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