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BACK RENTS ROADBLOCK

The retrospective abolition of upward-only rent contracts still remains a roadblock to growth in the retail sector, according to Retail Excellent Ireland (REI). Department of Justice plans to make the rent review system more transparent, which were published last week, were welcomed by REI. The plans include the establishment of a code for rent reviews and a database detailing rent agreements.
But REI chief Executive David Fitzsimons told the Sunday Business Post that the problems for existing tenants locked into boom-time rents, with upwards-only clauses, remained. REI called on the Minister for Justice, Dermot Ahern, to ban these clauses retrospectively and it says its legal advice is that such changes would be constitutionally valid.
In a recent report commissioned by REI, economist Colm McCarthy said that the extent of the economic collapse justified radical intervention by the Government in the commercial property market. McCarthy said the upward-only clause would only slow down recovery.

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