HL Deb 25 July 1898 vol 62 cc1043-6

Amendment proposed— Page 36, line 24, after 'shall,' insert 'except where under the terms of his contract he is not entitled to make any deduction from his rent in respect of rates.'"—(The Lord Chancellor of Ireland.)


I move the insertion of those words which should have been included.

Question put.

Amendment agreed to. Page 36, at end of line 29, add— Provided, however, that the occupier shall not be entitled to make any deduction from his rent in respect of buildings, except so far as same are liable to rent."—(The Earl of Arran.)


My Lords, I have brought up this Amendment, because in many hundreds of cases where judicial rents have been fixed it has been officially noted in the pink schedule that the buildings belong wholly or partly to the tenant, and in fixing the fair rent no rent is fixed upon the buildings at all, and therefore they would be excluded from the provisions of the Act, and are to be treated as a separate holding, and it is understood consequently that there will have to be some separate assessment upon the land and upon the buildings. What I want to guard against is this, that the tenant should not be entitled to deduct from the rental any part of the poor rate or county cess which would be applicable to the buildings which do not pay rent.


I have looked into this, question, and I think it does not in the slightest degree affect the amount of the deduction, and that is all that my noble Friend is interested in. Whether you transfer from one part of the farm to another, the liability to rent would not affect the amount of deduction; it leaves it absolutely untouched. The matter is one that I can make abundantly plain to my noble Friend if I go into it in detail, but I know the matter has been looked into very closely, and I believe it is perfectly plain that it does not in the slightest degree affect the amount of the deduction, whether you dissociate the buildings from the land or the land from the buildings; the amount of deduction is exactly the same.


I do not quite understand, as the rates at present paid are levied upon the two—upon the buildings and upon the land. I will not insist upon it now, but, of course, if I cannot understand the noble and learned Lord's explanation, I shall have to bring it up on Report.

Amendment proposed— Page 37, line 1, leave out sub-section (8)."—(Lord Inchiquin.)


My Lords, my Amendment is to omit the following sub-section altogether— Any difference which may arise as to the Amount to be deducted or paid by occupiers under existing tenancies in pursuance of this section, shall be referred to the Commissioner of Valuation, whose decision shall be final. It appears to me that the Commissioner of Valuation is not quite the proper person to refer these matters to, because questions of law and of fact will be likely to arise under this section. It is quite clear that questions of law will arise as to the position of certain tenancies, and my object in moving to leave out this sub-section is that the parties should be able to take their proper remedy at law, as they can now, before the proper authority.


My Lords, it is not anticipated that anything like substantial difference will arise, and in any question of figures the reference to the Commissioner of Valuation—a man of considerable intelligence and cuteness—offers a simple, expeditious, and cheap means of decision. I do not think it is desirable to tell people that if they have a small difference their best way to settle it is to rush into a lawsuit. I do not advise my friends to adopt that course.


It is not that I doubt the capabilities of the commissioner at all. What I say is that questions will arise which at present constantly occupy the Superior Courts, and it seems to me that these questions are not questions which the Commissioner of Valuation should be asked to decide, however excellent and able a person he may be.


The questions that will arise must be largely questions of figures, and not of law, because new tenancies are not created. You make some difference in the taxes, and in the incidence of the taxes, and it is comparatively easy to determine the amount of adjustment. I think it is prudent, in the interests of landlord and tenant, to leave that to the Commissioner of Valuation, who is a master of figures.


Could my noble and learned Friend see his way to leave out the words "whose decision shall be final"?


No; that would be very unsatisfactory.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Question put— That clause 52, as amended, stand part of the Bill.

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