HC Deb 26 April 1849 vol 104 cc920-1

said, that he wished to explain to the House the provisions of another Bill, which would confer considerable benefit in a small way. It had been a constant complaint in Ireland that there was a great defect in the law, which did not allow persons having a limited interest in land to grant leases for a term of years, which would enable improvements to be made. The principal object of the Bill, therefore, was to enable such persons, tenants for life, for instance, to grant leases for 99 years for building or improving purposes, provided that the fullest and best rent was reserved. Upon that being done, the lessee would have a parliamentary title to the extent of his lease. It was also proposed to extend this power to persons having an absolute interest in land, tenants in fee-simple or fee-tail, and to holders of leases having a right to perpetual renewal. At the same time, it was to be observed that certain covenants and forms must be followed in all these leases. It was proper to state that he should ask, in a few days, the leave of the House to introduce another Bill, without which this measure would not have the effect which he desired. As the law stood at present, wherever a power of leasing was granted, and the exact form of the power was not followed, the lease so made might be set aside at any time. He proposed shortly, therefore, to ask for leave to bring in a Bill to enable a court of equity to supply formal defects in the execution of powers, and it was intended to be a general measure, extending to England as well as Ireland. The hon. and learned Gentleman concluded by moving for leave to bring in a Bill to enable persons, having perpetual and limited interests in lands in Ireland, to make grants in fee or demises for long terms of years.


said, he should make no opposition whatever to the Bill, but he wished to know whether his hon. and learned Friend meant the present Bill to extend both to England and Ireland? [The SOLICITOR GENERAL: No.] He could not conceive why a difference should be made between the law of England and of Ireland in regard to building and improving leases. Although he could not prevent the Solicitor General from bringing in the Bill in any shape he pleased, he must not allow the opportunity to pass without stating that he had great objections to the Bill. By it, for example, he increased the power of the tenant for life, who was thus enabled to take something from the remainder-man. But the difficulty did not end there; for suppose a man should grant an improving lease, and should afterwards be himself evicted, that was, that the lessor should actually dispose of land not his own, then, by this Bill the tenant would be left in possession. How that could be shown to be advisable he could not see.


was glad that a Bill had been brought in to improve the tenant tenure in Ireland, as nothing would more improve the condition of agriculture. He hoped the hon. and learned Gentleman would in his Bill encourage leases for a fixed term of years, instead of the leases at present prevalent in Ireland, of leases for lives, with a term of years in reversion or concurrent.

Leave given.

Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. Solicitor General, Lord John Russell, and Sir William Somerville.

The House adjourned at a quarter past Twelve o'clock.