The scandal of upward-only rent reviews needs to be brought to an end and the Government must introduce legislation that takes account of these changed economic times.
This is the view of Fianna Fáil city councillor Ollie Crowe who is demanding that Fine Gael and Labour honour their pre-election promise to implement legislation to end upward-only rents.
Speaking on the issue this week, Cllr Crowe quoted from a 2010 statement by the current Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney who said: “The effect of upward-only rent reviews in the middle of a recession is that retailers are being driven out of business by the law”.
Cllr Crowe points out that many businesses in Galway are being negatively impacted by the upward-only clause signed in these agreements at the height of the boom.
“Leases signed then are no longer viable for leaseholders,” he said. “Following the economic crash, times have changed and we need the Government to prove it is capable of changing too.”
“Galway city centre has long traded on its vibrant and unique atmosphere. It attracts thousands of tourists who are so vital to our local economy,” he said. “The closure of popular places such as Cava and HMV does enormous damage to our local economy.”
The Fianna Fáil councillor said, failing the introduction of legislation, the Government must at least renegotiate rents on land over which it is the leaseholder. “There have been recent examples of the Government actually increasing rents on Government property,” he said.
Cllr Crowe said that, as a small business owner, he is “fully aware of the scale of the challenges being faced by such companies”.
He is calling on Government councillors to contact their TDs and Ministers and “make them aware of what is happening on the ground” and the “very serious consequences” which will continue to occur if nothing is done to tackle the situation.