HC Deb 27 July 1860 vol 160 cc269-73

Order for Committee read.

House in Committee.

Clauses 36 to 47 agreed to. Clause 48 omitted. Clause 49 agreed to.

Clause 50 (No Distress for more than One Year's Rent).


said, he would propose the omission of the latter part of the clause, the effect of which would be to abolish the law of distress.


said, that it was a very great alteration of the law to propose by a mere verbal Amendment. He knew that many Irish landlords were not opposed to the proposition, but great opposition might be excited in other quarters on the ground of the difference it would introduce between the law of England and Ireland. He himself would, if he could, do away with the law of distress, but believing that that could not be done, he could not consent to the Amendment.


suggested, as a compromise, that the clause should be so amended as not to abolish the power of distress altogether, but only in the case of tenants at will.


regretted that such a proposition as that should come from so respectable a source as the hon. Member for Limerick. He (Mr. Sullivan) thought this clause should be altogether omitted from the Bill.


said, he was as much opposed to the power of distress as any one else, but he feared it would be very difficult to pass into law a clause abolishing it.


hoped the suggestion of the hon. Member for Limerick (Mr. Monsell) would be acceded to.


said, that he wished it to be distinctly understood that he could not enter into any undertaking on the subject. He was not in a position to do so, as he must consult with others. But if the Amendment were now withdrawn, he would then give an opportunity for its discussion on the bringing up of the Report.


said, he was satisfied that if they abolished the power of distress the Bill would not pass the House of Lords.


said, he thought they ought to do what was right, regardless of what might take place elsewhere. He knew of cases in which landlords had taken advantage of the power of distress to crush tenants; but he was prepared to accept the proposition of the hon. Member for Limerick, confining the power of distress to the case of persons having leases, as he believed it would have the effect of inducing landlords to give leases.


pointed out that there were grass lands in Ireland which must be let from year to year, and if they were to abolish the law of distress such yearly tenants might at any time sell off their stock, pocket the money, and go off to America without paying any rent.


said, he also thought it would be dangerous in many cases to abolish the power of distress altogether.


said, he was in favour of the abolition of the law.


said, if the landlord had not the power of distress, he would be more careful as to the party to whom he let his land. In England there was a strong feeling in favour of the abolition of the law, and the Law Amendment Society some years ago pronounced for its abolition. He did not think there need be any fear of a reasonable clause on the subject passing through the House of Lords.


said, after the promise of the Government he would not press his Motion.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 51 (Ejectment for Year's Rent unpaid).


objected to the clause, and urged that the present limit of £50 should be retained.


moved that the clause be omitted from the Bill.

Motion made, and Question put. "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 57; Noes 7: Majority 50.

Clause agreed to.

Remaining clauses, with the exception of Clause 96, which was struck out, agreed to.


said, that in the absence of his hon. Friend (Mr. Hassard) he wished to move the addition of a clause declaring that the resumption by surrender or eviction of any portion of the premises demised by a lease, should not in any manner prejudice or affect the rights of the landlord, whether by action, or entry, or ejectment, as to the residue of the said premises. The clause was intended to remedy the present state of the law, according to which if a landlord let land by lease or agreement, and afterwards got up an acre or half an acre for the purpose of planting, or any other purpose, and made a reduction of the rent accordingly, he was held to be thereby deprived of the right of bringing an ejectment for nonpayment of rent with regard to the remainder. There could be no objection to the clause, which proposed to remedy a mere technical defect.

Clause agreed to.


said, he rose for the purpose of moving the addition to the Bill of a series of clauses, which would give tenants the right of removing trade or agricultural fixtures, as well as any farm buildings which they might have erected, He had taken those clauses from the Bill which had been introduced by the right hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Whiteside), and he believed that it would be just to the tenant to adopt them. The first he would propose was as to trade or agricultural fixtures.

Clause brought up and read 1o.


said, that an Amendment of the law of fixtures might be a proper subject for the consideration of Parliament, but he believed, that if they were to deal with the question at all they ought to deal with it by a separate Bill.


supported the clause. It would be regarded by the tenants as a concession in their favour, and without it the Bill would be considered by the people of Ireland generally to be a mere landlords' Bill.


recommended that the present clause should not be pressed, but he thought that the other clauses of which the hon. Gentleman had given notice, providing that farm buildings erected by the tenant might be removed, if, after notice of removal given, the landlord or incoming tenant did not elect to purchase, ought to be agreed to. Nothing would give greater encouragement to tenants to erect suitable farm buildings than a state of the law which provided that they should, when they gave up possession of the land, be re-payed for their outlay.


supported the clauses, which would go far to encourage the tenant in the employment of capital.


said, he thought that trade fixtures should be omitted, and agricultural fixtures only included in the clause.


said, he could not help fearing that if they were to introduce any novel principle upon the subject they would ensure the rejection of the Bill in "another place."


said, that at present the tenant might exercise the right of removal during the tenancy, and suggested the introduction of words making it lawful to remove fixtures for two months after the termination of the tenancy.

Clause, as amended, added to the Bill.


said, he would then propose to add a clause providing that farm buildings erected by the tenant might be removed.

Clause brought up, and read 1o.


said, he could not assent to the insertion of this clause, because the tenant would have power to erect buildings without the knowledge of the land-land, and at the end of the tenancy could not only remove the buildings, but by doing so inflict irreparable injury on the freehold. The tenant would thus be enabled to compel the landlord to agree to his wishes.


said, if the buildings were erected with the consent of the landlord they would come under the general law. If they were erected without the consent of the landlord he hoped the House would pause before they agreed to the clause.


suggested that the objection might be removed by the introduction of the words "and which can be removed without substantial damage to the freehold."


said, that if notice were given of bringing forward the proposition in a modified form on the Report, he would be prepared to consider it.


said, he was willing to introduce the words suggested by his hon. Friend (Mr. M'Mahon).


said, the clause gave power to remove buildings erected without the consent of the landlord; and if that principle was insisted on they must divide the House against it.


recommended the hon. Member (Mr. Sullivan) to consult with his friends with a view to some modification of the clause.


warned the House that if a tenant were to be at liberty to erect buildings which might be a nuisance to the landlord, and remove them at the end of his tenancy, the effect would be that every landlord would take care to bind down his tenant to erect no buildings, except such as received his consent.

Motion made, and Question put, "That the Clause be now read a Second time."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 25; Noes 71: Majority 46.


suggested that the hon. Member (Mr. Sullivan) would have an opportunity of moving his remaining clauses on the Report, and hoped that the Committee would allow the Bill to pass through the Committee.

House resumed. Bill reported; as amended, to be considered on Monday next.

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