Ronan’s firm wins Medical Council rent battle

A firm owned by developer Johnny Ronan has won its High Court case aimed at ensuring the annual rent for the Medical Council’s new headquarters in Dublin does not fall below €820,000 although the market rent for the property is about €374,100.

Mr Justice Iarflaith O’Neill ruled yesterday the upwards only rent review clause in the council’s 20-year lease for its Kingram House headquarters off Fitzwilliam Square is not affected by a law banning upwards only rent reviews for business premises.

The 20-year lease dates from Jan 2013 but provision for it was part of a series of transactions agreed in 2008 between Tanat Ltd and the Medical Council.

The council had argued it was entitled to the benefit of Section 132 of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009, the law banning “upward only” rent review clauses in leases for business premises which came into effect in Feb 2010.

The judge said section 132 was not intended to have retrospective effect and accepting the council’s arguments would mean it would be insulated from losses it would have experienced, following the collapse of the property market, under the agreements between it and Tanat.

Those agreements had valued Kingram House at about €20m when valuations were based on market rents in Dec 2012, with upward and downward review clauses about €5m, he noted.

A 2008 agreement between Tanat and the council concerning options for the property included a put and call option agreement for a 20-year lease dating from Jan 2013.

Section 132 states the ban on upwards only rent reviews does not apply to agreements for property leases for business purposes entered into before the section came into effect in Feb 2010.

The judge ruled the put option in the 2008 Kingram House agreement amounted to an agreement for such a lease and therefore Section 132 did not apply.


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