(1.) Where an agreement has been made for the purchase of a holding, and the Land Commission consider that the purchase money is adequate in amount, and are satisfied that the person purporting to be the landlord or his mortgagee has, by himself or by his agent, or a receiver, been, for not less than six years, in receipt of the rents of the holding, and have ascertained in the prescribed manner that the estate in respect of which such person claims as landlord is sufficient to constitute him a person having power to sell under the Land Purchase Acts, he shall be deemed to be prima facie entitled to carry such agreement into effect; but if it appears to the Land Commission that the said estate is a leasehold for years not renewable for ever, they shall cause the prescribed notice to be given to the poison who is entitled in reversion on the expiration of the lease. Provided always, that where the Land Commission are satisfied that the person purporting to be the landlord has a good and marketable title to his interest in the holding they shall not be required to consider the purchase money is adequate in amount.
(2.) Where the Land Commission are satisfied that the persons purporting to be the landlord and the tenant are, prima facie, entitled to carry into effect an agreement for the purchase of a holding, and sanction an advance for the purchase of a holding, they shall, as soon as may be, make a vesting order to the effect that the amount of the advance be paid into the High Court to the prescribed credit to abide the order of that Court, and that on such payment the holding shall vest in the purchaser.
(3.) The vesting order shall be effectual to vest in the purchaser, and charge the purchase annuity on the fee simple and inheritance of the holding purchased, subject—
but, save as aforesaid, discharged from all claims, whether estates, charges, reservations, covenants, conditions, interests or incumbrances whatsoever, as well of Her Majesty the Queen, and any superior landlord, as of all other persons whomsoever (except the tenant and persons claiming under him) who are interested in the holding, whether as incumbrancers or otherwise, and all such claims shall cease as against the holding, and shall attach to the purchase money paid into the High Court in respect of the holding, in like manner as immediately before the sale they attached to the holding.
(4.) The money so paid into the High Court shall be distributed and dealt with by that Court in like manner as if it wore the proceeds of the sale of an estate sold under the Landed Estates Court (Ireland) Act, 1858, and for the purpose of such distribution of or dealing with the said money, the High Court may, if it appears to such Court necessary, ascertain the amount or value of such claims as above mentioned, and cause that amount or value to be discharged, redeemed, or satisfied out of the said money.
(5.) The vesting order shall be an order securing an advance within the meaning of section eighteen of the Land Law (Ireland) Act, 1887, and that section shall apply accordingly.
(6.) The interest vested by the vesting order in the purchaser shall be deemed to be a graft upon the previous interest of the tenant in the holding, and shall be subject to any rights or equities arising from its being such graft: Provided that any then substituting charge on such previous interest which was created under any Act in respect of some improvement on the holding, shall be a charge on the estate vested in the purchaser by the vesting order next after the purchase-annuity.
(7.) If any guarantee deposit is paid or retained, the amount thereof shall be excepted from the payment into the High Court, and hold by the Land Commission, but the vesting order shall take effect and the right to the deposit be determined, as if the amount had been paid into that Court with the rest of the purchase money.
(8.) Where the Judicial Commissioner certifies that the estate is free from incumbrances (as defined by the Land Law (Ireland) Act, 1887), and that the purchase money can be paid or distributed immediately, the advance need not be paid into the High Court, and this section shall apply in like manner as if it were so paid. The provisions of this section and of any other
enactment in this Act with respect to purchase money and the payment thereof into court or otherwise shall, where the advance is made by means of guaranteed land stock, apply to that stock and to the transfer thereof into court or otherwise, and enactments relating to the payment shall be construed accordingly.
(9.) The Land Commission or the High Court shall not in any case be empowered to make any further requisition as to title than a purchaser would be entitled to make under the Vendor and Purchaser Act, 1874, or any Act amending the same.
§ THE MARQUESS of LONDONDERRY
said their Lordships would have gathered from the remarks he had made that he was a staunch advocate of the principle of purchase. He congratulated the Government on having made the question of purchase the keystone of their Bill, but, as he pointed out in the Debate on the Second Reading, if Clause 30 were allowed to stand, the keystone of the Measure would be absolutely destroyed. No landlord in Ireland would under the circumstances, consider himself justified in selling his property to a tenant. Consequently, if a landlord would not sell and tenants wished to buy, the whole system of purchase came to a deadlock. On the Second Reading he proved that the landlord, under this clause, would give up his land, and until he had proved his title would receive no money in hard cash in return. There was great difficulty and expense in proving title in Ireland, and this was a great deterrent to purchase. For instance, it cost him £3,000 to sell his first £100,000 pounds' worth of land. Was it likely that people who had a small margin and were perhaps receiving from honest tenants 4 per cent. for their money would sacrifice 3 per cent. in proving their title? In addition to the expense, the proving of title was a very lengthy business. In the House of Commons the Attorney-General for Ireland stated that it might take a landowner three or four years to prove his title. What happened to his money during that time? He did not receive it to pay off his mortgagee, to whom he was paying 4½ or 5 per cent., but it was locked up, and he was paid 2½ per cent. interest for it. Take the case of a landlord with an income of £1,000 a year which was mortgaged up to £500. The landlord sold at 20 years' purchase, winch brought him in £20,000. He was not able to prove his title for 59 three or four years, and receiving only 2½ per cent. for the £20,000 he got exactly £500 a year. There was, consequently, no margin whatever left to him if he sold between what he received from the Land Commission and what he paid to the mortgagee. The argument of the noble and learned Lord sounded exceedingly plausible. He was the owner of mortgaged property, and he should be exceedingly glad to deal with it in the terms suggested. However plausible the proposal might be to the individual it could not be carried out generally. What he proposed was a work of destruction; he proposed to destroy the clause, but he also proposed to carry through a work of construction. He had put down a clause in the place of the one he proposed to omit, and he understood that the Government saw no reason why it should not be accepted. He concluded by moving the omission of the clause.
§ *THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
said when he introduced the Bill he admitted that there was a difficulty as to the form in which the clause originally stood—that it might act as a deterrent and prevent many persons from taking advantage of the purchase clauses of the Bill. He indicated that in his opinion there was no possible way of escaping from this difficulty except by transferring the loss of income from the shoulders of the vendor of the estate to the shoulders of the incumbrancers. He added that that did not seem to involve any great injustice to the latter. It was perfectly true that this alternative had not been regarded with any favour—["Hear, hear!"]; and they were not prepared to insert in the Bill any provision to bring about such a result. He admitted that they were face to face with the fact that the clause, as it stood, was one which was not likely to work, and therefore they were prepared to accept in principle the alternative clause which the noble Marquess had on the Paper, with liberty to examine it carefully, and, if necessary, amend it before the Bill left the House. [Cheers.]
Sub-sections (1) to (7), inclusive, struck out.