Dáil Éireann - Volume 543 - 06 November, 2001
Written Answers. - Ground Rents.
Mr. Sargent Mr. Sargent
645. Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the progress being made to end the system of ground rents. [26732/01]
Mr. O'Donoghue Mr. O'Donoghue
Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. O'Donoghue): Provision has been made in existing landlord and tenant legislation to prevent the creation of new ground rents and for the purchase of existing ground rents. In particular, the Landlord and Tenant (Ground Rents) Act, 1978, has prevented the creation of new leases reserving ground rents on dwellings while the Landlord and Tenant (Ground Rents) (No. 2) Act, 1978, already provides a statutory scheme for the purchase of the fee simple in the case of dwelling houses. The purchase price in most cases at present is about 15 times the ground rent. To date, more than 74,600 people have purchased their ground rent under this scheme. There is no obstacle to a tenant negotiating directly with the owner of the ground rent for its purchase without reference to the 1978 (No. 2) Act.
The 1978 (No. 2) Act also contains provision for the purchase of the fee simple in cases where  the consent of all the necessary parties is not forthcoming. In such cases, the Registrar of Titles will determine the application by arbitration. Moreover, the Act makes provision for the circumstance that the ground rent landlord cannot be found.
In so far as future legislation is concerned, the Government's current legislation programme makes provision for a Bill to abolish ground rents. The content of such a proposal is under examination by my Department in consultation with the Attorney General's office and the Land Registry, since it raises certain constitutional, technical and practical difficulties. I hope these difficulties can be overcome in a way that would improve on the readily available and reasonable system that already exists for the purchase of ground rents, and that the details of new legislation can be announced as early as possible in 2002.
Dáil Éireann 543 Written Answers. Ground Rents.