There was an interesting item on Tuesday’s Drivetime concerning the relentless rise in commercial rents despite the downturn in the economy.
The law covering this area of business is bizarre to say the least. Rent reviews are carried out every five years but can only remain static or go up.
If one tenant, say in a shopping centre, agrees to a rent rise then everybody, by law, must agree and pay the same rise with no account taken of profitability or ability to pay.
According to Paul Fitzsimmons of Retail Excellence Ireland, this system is wide open to abuse. His organization has evidence of landlords doing deals with particular businesses by offering them a rent free period or help with a fit out in return for agreeing to a rent rise.
What I find amazing is that this law seems to have been drafted with this ‘bribery clause’ specifically in mind, I can’t think of any other reason for its insertion. But then again, why am I amazed, this is Ireland.