Farm­ers warned they must reg­is­ter land leases on­line

Concerns raised over ‘ex­ces­sive’ level of de­tail re­quired to sat­isfy prop­erty reg­is­ter obli­ga­tions

Irish Independent - Farming - - FRONT PAGE - MARTIN RYAN

THOU­SANDS of farm­ers have been warned that they are legally obliged to reg­is­ter leases on­line as part of a move to bring more trans­parency into the let­ting mar­ket.

How­ever, concerns have been raised that the “ex­ces­sive” level of de­tail re­quired will mean peo­ple will be able to pin­point what in­di­vid­ual farm­ers are pay­ing for their leased land.

A large-scale aware­ness cam­paign has been launched by the Prop­erty Ser­vices Reg­u­la­tory Au­thor­ity (PSRA) to warn farm­ers who have taken out a lease on land that they must reg­is­ter it on­line within 30 days.

“The aim of the reg­is­tra­tion of th­ese leases is to give trans­parency to what the real price of leases is, not only in agri­cul­ture but in busi­nesses across the board,” said the IFA’s busi­ness chair Martin Sta­ple­ton.

“The dif­fi­culty that we have is there is no need to name the town­land to give trans­parency.

“We would have liked it iden­ti­fied at dis­trict elec­toral di­vi­sion or even bet­ter county level,” he added, say­ing this would pro­tect per­sonal in­for­ma­tion for in­di­vid­ual farm­ers.

It is ex­pected that there will be keen in­ter­est in the prices be­ing paid for leased land in the key dairy farm­ing ar­eas, where com­pe­ti­tion among farm­ers for land has seen prices soar.

De­tails of all the leases, in­clud­ing ad­dresses, rent, date and term of the lease, will be avail­able for pub­lic view­ing on the com­mer­cial leases reg­is­ter on the PSRA web­site.

The name of the farmer leas­ing the land is not in­cluded on the web­site, but farm bodies warn that the prop­erty will be eas­ily iden­ti­fi­able from the ad­dress and key in­for­ma­tion.

Cam­paign

Over 13,000 out of 22,000 let­ters have been is­sued by the PSRA so far to all com­mer­cial lease tenants, in­clud­ing on land, build­ings and shop units.

A spokesman said they are car­ry­ing out an aware­ness cam­paign to make tenants aware of their obli­ga­tions to reg­is­ter a com­mer­cial lease.

The PSRA also in­tend to pur­sue the log­ging of ex­pired leases that were taken out since 2012.

A PSRA spokesman said it en­sures trans­parency in the area.

“Wide­spread com­pli­ance will en­sure there is more ac­cu­rate pub­lished in­for­ma­tion which will in turn pro­vide a more level play­ing field for ex­ist­ing and prospec­tive com­mer­cial tenants,” he said.

“Sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion such as the per­sonal de­tails of the ten­ant and the land­lord are not in­cluded in the pub­lished reg­is­ter and there is no charge for sub­mit­ting the form.”

Over 8,300 leases have been reg­is­tered since 2012 — with 1,406 re­turned by tenants so far this year.

Many farm­ers who have taken out leases on land were un­aware of their le­gal re­quire­ments un­der the 2011 Prop­erty Ser­vices (Reg­u­la­tion) Act, with a penalty of up to €5,000 upon con­vic­tion in the dis­trict court.

Blar­ney auc­tion­eer Dan Flem­ing be­lieves that landown­ers and tenants won’t like it as it makes pub­lic what was agreed pri­vately.

“Farm­ers are very pri­vate peo­ple,” he added.

Auc­tion­eer Stephen Barry feels that putting the de­tails of land leases on­line is re­leas­ing com­mer­cially sen­si­tive ma­te­rial into the pub­lic arena and ques­tions the ben­e­fits of it.

“If a ten­ant has 1,000ac of tillage leased, his com­peti­tors and/or his bank or mer­chant will be able to put all that in­for­ma­tion to­gether and make a busi­ness call on what should be pri­vate in­for­ma­tion,” he said.

ICMSA deputy pres­i­dent Lor­can McCabe ques­tioned the need for the re­port­ing of such de­tail, de­scrib­ing it as “clearly ex­ces­sive”.

Con­tin­ued on page 8

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