If you live in any city in Ireland, the chances are you hold your house under some form of lease. As towns and cities grew, developers and builders granted leases of the completed houses so they could tie in the owners of these leases in to covenants e.g. not to use the house as a shop. A nice little side-line for the developers was the ground rent reserved under the lease usually €15 or €20 a year. Some estates in Dublin built during the 1960s could have nearly a thousand houses with annual ground rents of €15 each.
During this period you could approach the builder to buy out his interest in the lease, but the system could be expensive and somewhat convoluted. It was annoying to pay your builder/landlord a sum every year when, in effect, you had already paid him for the house. Some leases with only 50 years or so left to run were regarded as unsatisfactory.
The 1978 Ground Rents Act changed all that. Nowadays anyone who still has a ground rent to pay (or, more likely, hasn’t received a demand for years) can lodge papers with the Land Registry to buy out his landlord and acquire the freehold.
The price for the freehold will usually be modest but if you can’t reach agreement on the price, you can submit the forms for arbitration and the price will be settled for you by the Land Registry. They ultimately issue you with a Vesting Certificate which is basically a deed conferring the freehold in you as applicant.
When the Certificate issues you should take it to you solicitor so he/she can register it in the Land Registry, so you appear on their system as freehold owner.
Most leaseholders, especially those with shorter terms left to run, prefer to buy out the freehold under the 1978 Act given how relatively inexpensive and useful it is to do so. You should contact your solicitor to make the application for you or indeed make the application yourself if you have the necessary details.
If you demolish the house, you will lose your right to a Vesting Certificate, but it can be re-instated if you build/ rebuild the house and then apply for the freehold/ vesting certificate. You cannot have a Vesting Certificate on a vacant site and if one was obtained, it would be invalid.
If you have any questions our specialised Conveyancing/ Buying and Selling Property team is here to help.
You can contact Mc Cormack Solicitors on
Phone: 071 9621846
The contents of these pages are provided as an information guide only. While every effort is made in preparing material for publication no responsibility is accepted by or on behalf of McCormack Solicitors for any errors, omissions or misleading statements on these pages or any site to which these pages connect.