HC Deb 14 May 1888 vol 326 cc168-9

asked Mr. Solicitor General for Ireland, Whether his attention has been called to the recent decision pronounced under the Land Law Acts by the Sub-Commissioners sitting respectively in the Counties of Dublin and Cork—namely, that where a lease contains a clause precluding a tenant from claiming compensation for improvements at its determination, all improvements made by the tenant are to be treated as the property of the landlord, and that on the tenants applying to have a fair rent fixed under the lease-breaking clause of the Act of last year, the landlord is entitled to claim rent on such improvements, though he has not in any way contributed to the cost of them; whether he is aware that nearly every lease made in Ireland since the Land Act of 1870 contains such a clause, where the valuation of the holding exceeded £50, and that the result of the decision in question, if upheld, will be to confiscate tenants' improvements to an enormous extent, and in the case of the most improving class of tenant; and, whether the Government will take the opportunity provided by the Bill now before the House to redress this injustice?


I have ascertained that a decision to the effect mentioned in the first paragraph of the Question was pronounced by one of the Sub-Commissioners referred to, and I have no reason to doubt the accuracy of the entire paragraph. I have no information as to the matters of fact stated in the second paragraph; but I cannot admit that the operation of the decision referred to, whatever be its extent, can fairly be described as confiscation. It is not the intention of the Government to introduce any legislation for the purpose of nullifying clauses in leases defining the respective rights of landlord and tenant with regard to property in improvements effected by the tenants.