Skip to main content

Land Law (Ireland) Act

Land Law (Ireland) Act

22 August 1881

The Land League spearheaded a campaign of violence and intimidation against the existing land system between 1879 and 1881. To this campaign the British government responded with a combination of conciliation and coercion. Conciliation took the form of the 1881 Land Act, which finally conceded the three Fs for which tenant advocates had been contending since the 1850s. To "fair rents," fixity of tenure, and free sale was added a modest provision for tenant land-purchase. The omission of leaseholders and tenants in arrears from the benefits of the Land Act, and the lack of adequate facilities for land purchase, meant that the agrarian struggle would continue in spite of these substantial concessions.

SEE ALSO Land Acts of 1870 and 1881; Land War of 1879 to 1882; Parnell, Charles Stewart

AN ACT TO FURTHER AMEND THE LAW RELATING TO THE OCCUPATION AND OWNERSHIP OF LAND IN IRELAND, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES RELATING THERETO

Be it enacted . . . as follows:

1. The tenant for the time being of every holding, not hereinafter specially excepted from the provisions of this act, may sell his tenancy for the best price that can be got for the same, subject to the following regulations and subject also to the provisions in this act contained with respect to the sale of a tenancy subject to statutory conditions:

  • (1) Except with the consent of the landlord, the sale shall be made to one person only:
  • (2) The tenant shall give the prescribed notice to the landlord of his intention to sell his tenancy:
  • (3) On receiving such notice the landlord may purchase the tenancy for such sum as may be agreed upon, or in the event of disagreement, may be ascertained by the court to be the true value thereof:
  • (4) Where the tenant shall agree to sell his tenancy to some other person than the landlord, he shall, upon informing the landlord of the name of the purchaser, state in writing therewith the consideration agreed to be given for the tenancy:
  • (5) If the tenant fails to give the landlord the notice or information required by the foregoing subsections, the court may, if it think fit and that the just interests of the landlord so require, declare the sale to be void:
  • (6) Where the tenancy is sold to some other person than the landlord, the landlord may within the prescribed period refuse on reasonable grounds to accept the purchaser as tenant. . . .
  • (7) Where the tenancy is subject to any such conditions as are in this act declared to be statutory conditions, and the sale is made in consequence of proceedings by the landlord for the purpose of recovering possession of the holding by reason of the breach of any of such conditions, the court shall grant to the landlord out of the purchase moneys payment of any debt, including arrears of rent, due to him by the tenant. . . .
  • (8) Where permanent improvements on a holding have been made by the landlord or his predecessors in title . . . , and the landlord . . . consents that his property in such improvements shall be sold along with the tenancy . . . , the purchase money shall be apportioned by the court. . . .
  • (9) When a tenant sells his tenancy to any person other than the landlord, the landlord may at any time within the prescribed period give notice both to the outgoing tenant and to the purchaser of any sums which he may claim from the outgoing tenant for arrears of rent or other breaches of the contract or conditions of tenancy. And
    • (a) If the outgoing tenant does not within the prescribed period give notice to the purchaser that he disputes such claims or any of them, the purchaser shall out of the purchase moneys pay the full amount thereof to the landlord; and
    • (b) If the outgoing tenant disputes such claims or any of them, the purchaser shall out of the purchase moneys pay to the landlord so much (if any) of such claims as the outgoing tenant admits, and pay the residue of the amount claimed by the landlord into court in the prescribed manner.

Until the purchaser has satisfied the requirements of this subsection, it shall not be obligatory on the landlord to accept the purchaser as his tenant. . . .

  • (11)A tenant who has sold his tenancy on any occasion of quitting his holding shall not be entitled on the same occasion to receive compensation for either disturbance or improvements; and a tenant who has received compensation for either disturbance or improvements on any occasion of quitting his holding shall not be entitled on the same occasion to sell his tenancy.
  • (12)The tenant of a holding subject to the Ulster tenant-right custom or to a usage corresponding to the Ulster tenant-right custom may sell his tenancy either in pursuance of that custom or usage or in pursuance of this section. . . .

4. Where the landlord demands an increase of rent from the tenant of a present tenancy . . . , or demands an increase of rent from the tenant of a future tenancy, beyond the amount fixed at the beginning of such tenancy, then,

  • (1) Where the tenant accepts such increase, until the expiration of a term of fifteen years from the time when such increase was made (in this act referred to as a statutory term), such tenancy shall (if it so long continues to subsist) be deemed to be a tenancy subject to statutory conditions, with such incidents during the continuance of the said term as are in this act in that behalf mentioned.
  • (2) Where the tenant of any future tenancy does not accept such increase and sell his tenancy, the same shall be sold subject to the increased rent, and in addition to the price paid for the tenancy, he shall be entitled to receive from his landlord the amount (if any) by which the court may, on the application of the landlord or tenant, decide the selling value of his tenancy to have been depreciated below the amount which would have been such selling value if the rent had been a fair rent. . . .
  • (3) Where the tenant does not accept such increase and is compelled to quit the tenancy by or in pursuance of a notice to quit, but does not sell the tenancy, he shall be entitled to claim compensation as in the case of disturbance by the landlord.
  • (4) The tenant of a present tenancy may, in place of accepting or declining such increase, apply to the court in manner hereafter in this act mentioned to have the rent fixed.

5. A tenant shall not, during the continuance of a statutory term in his tenancy, be compelled to pay a higher rent than the rent payable at the commencement of such term, and shall not be compelled to quit the holding of which he is tenant except in consequence of the breach of some one or more of the conditions following (in this act referred to as statutory conditions), that is to say,

  • (1) The tenant shall pay his rent at the appointed time.
  • (2) The tenant shall not, to the prejudice of the interest of the landlord in the holding, commit persistent waste. . . .
  • (3) The tenant shall not, without the consent of his landlord in writing, subdivide his holding or sublet the same. . . . Agistment or the letting of land for the purpose of temporary depasturage, or the letting in conacre of land for the purpose of its being solely used . . . for the growing of potatoes or other green crops, the land being properly manured, shall not be deemed a subletting for the purposes of this act. . . .
  • (5) The landlord, or any persons authorised by him in that behalf (he or they making reasonable amends and satisfaction for any damage to be done or occasioned thereby), shall have the right to enter upon the holding for any of the purposes following . . .
  • (6) The tenant shall not on his holding, without the consent of his landlord, open any house for the sale of intoxicating liquors.

Nothing contained in this section shall prejudice or affect any ejectment for non-payment of rent instituted by a landlord, whether before or after the commencement of a statutory term, in respect of rent accrued due for a holding before the commencement of such term.

During the continuance of a statutory term in a tenancy, save as hereinafter provided, the court may, on the application of the landlord and upon being satisfied that he is desirous of resuming the holding or part thereof for some reasonable and sufficient purpose, authorize the resumption thereof by the landlord. . . .

Provided that the rent of any holding subject to statutory conditions may be increased in respect of capital laid out by the landlord under agreement with the tenant to such an amount as may be agreed upon between landlord and tenant. . . .

8. (1) The tenant of any present tenancy to which this act applies, or such tenant and the landlord jointly, or the landlord . . . may from time to time during the continuance of such tenancy apply to the court to fix the fair rent to be paid by such tenant to the landlord for the holding . . .

  • (3) Where the judicial rent [the rent set by the assistant land commissioners] of any present tenancy has been fixed . . . ,then, until the expiration of a term of fifteen years from the rent day next succeeding the day on which the determination of the court has been given (in this act referred to as a statutory term), such present tenancy shall (if it so long continue to subsist) be deemed to be a tenancy subject to statutory conditions. . . .
  • (6) Subject to rules made under this act, the landlord and tenant of any present tenancy to which this act applies, may . . . by writing under their hands agree and declare what is then the fair rent of the holding; and such agreement and declaration, on being filed in court in the prescribed manner, shall have the same effect and consequences in all respects as if the rent so agreed on were a judicial rent. . . .

10. The landlord and tenant of any ordinary tenancy and the landlord and proposed tenant of any holding to which this act applies which is not subject to a subsisting tenancy, may agree, the one to grant and the other to accept a lease for a term of thirty-one years or upwards (in this act referred to as a judicial lease), on such conditions and containing such provisions as the parties to such lease may mutually agree upon, and such lease . . . shall be substituted for the former tenancy, if any, in the holding. . . .

13. (1) Where proceedings are or have been taken by the landlord to compel a tenant to quit his holding, the tenant may sell his tenancy at any time before, but not after, the expiration of six months from the execution of a writ or decree for possession in an ejectment for non-payment or rent, and at any time before, but not after, the execution of such writ or decree in any ejectment other than for non-payment of rent; and such tenancy so sold shall be and be deemed to be a subsisting tenancy notwithstanding such proceedings, without prejudice to the landlord's rights, in the event of the said tenancy not being redeemed within said period of sixth months; and if any judgment or decree in ejectment has been obtained before the passing of this act, such tenant may within the same periods respectively apply to the court to fix the judicial rent of the holding, but subject to the provisions herein contained such application shall not invalidate or prejudice any such judgment or decree, which shall remain in full force and effect. . . .

  • (3) Where any proceedings for compelling the tenant of a present tenancy to quit his holding shall have been taken before or after an application to fix a judicial rent and shall be pending before such application is disposed of, the court before which such proceedings are pending shall have power . . . to postpone or suspend such proceedings until the termination of the proceedings on the application for such judicial rent. . . .
  • (6) A tenant compelled to quit his holding during the continuance of a statutory term in his tenancy, in consequence of the breach by the tenant of any statutory condition, shall not be entitled to compensation for disturbance. . . .

22. A tenant whose holding or the aggregate of whose holdings valued under the act relating to the valuation of rateable property in Ireland at an annual value of not less than one hundred and fifty pounds shall be entitled by writing under his hand to contract himself out of any of the provisions of this act or of the Landlord and Tenant (Ireland) Act, 1870.

24. (1) The Land Commission, out of moneys in their hands, may, if satisfied with the security, advance sums to tenants for the purpose of enabling them to purchase their holdings, that is to say,

  • (a) Where a sale of a holding is about to be made by a landlord to a tenant in consideration of the payment of a principal sum, the Land Commission may advance to the tenant for the purposes of such purchase any sum not exceeding three fourths of the said principal sum.
  • (b) Where a sale of a holding is about to be made by a landlord to a tenant in consideration of the tenant paying a fine and engaging to pay to the landlord a fee farm rent, the Land Commission may advance to the tenant for the purposes of such purchase, any sum not exceeding one half of the fine payable to the landlord. . . .

26. (1) Any estate may be purchased by the Land Commission for the purpose of reselling to the tenants of the lands comprised in such estate their respective holdings, if the Land Commission are satisfied . . . that a competent number of the tenants are able and willing to purchase their holdings from the Land Commission.

  • (2) The sale by the Land Commission of a holding to the tenant thereof may be made either in consideration of a principal sum being paid as the whole price . . . or in consideration of a fine and of a fee farm rent, with this qualification, that the amount of the fee farm rent shall not exceed seventy-five per cent of the rent which in the opinion of the land commission would be a fair rent for the holding.
  • (3) For the purposes of this section a competent number of tenants means a body of tenants who are not less in number than three fourths of the whole number of tenants on the estate, and who pay rent not less than two thirds of the whole rent of the estate. . . .

28. (1) Any advance made by the Land Commission for the purpose of supplying money for the purchase of a holding from a landlord or of a holding or parcel from the Land Commission, shall be repaid by an annuity in favour of the Land Commission for thirty-five years of five pounds for every hundred pounds of such advance, and so in proportion for any less sum. . . .

37. (1) The expression "the court" as used in this act shall mean the civil bill court of the county where the matter requiring the cognizance of the court arises. . . .

(3) Any proceedings which might be instituted before the civil bill court may, at the election of the person taking such proceedings, be instituted before the Land Commission. . . .

40. Any matter capable of being determined by the court under this act, may, if the parties so agree, be decided by arbitration, . . . and where the amount of rent is decided by arbitration, such rent shall for the purposes of this act be deemed to be the judicial rent.

41. A Land Commission shall be constituted under this act consisting of a judicial commissioner and two other commissioners. . . .

43. The lord lieutenant may from time to time, with the consent of the treasury as to number, appoint and by order in council remove assistant commissioners. . . .

44. Any power or act by this act vested in or authorised to be done by the Land Commission, except the power of hearing appeals, may be exercised or done by any one member of the Land Commission or by any sub-commission. . . .

44 & 45 Vict., c. 4; The Public General Acts . . . (1881), pp. 139–164.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Land Law (Ireland) Act." Encyclopedia of Irish History and Culture. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Jun. 2019 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Land Law (Ireland) Act." Encyclopedia of Irish History and Culture. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 25, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/international/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/land-law-ireland-act

"Land Law (Ireland) Act." Encyclopedia of Irish History and Culture. . Retrieved June 25, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/international/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/land-law-ireland-act

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.