THE CO-OWNER of Korky’s – a chain of shoe shops – has hit out at the government’s failure to do away with the policy of upward-only rents for existing leases, the day after he was forced to close one of his shops with the loss of eight jobs.
John Corcoran, who owns the chain of shops with his brother Michael, told TheJournal.ie that he was “happy to be out and that the bloodletting had now stopped.”
Having signed a 25-year lease in 1995, the annual cost of rent and rates for the shop became €445,000 in 2005.
“We paid it for a good few years but we can’t afford it anymore,” he said.
The shop, on Dublin’s busy Grafton Street, came to national attention for the banners that were placed above it in previous years which called on government to abolish upward-only rent reviews.
This banner, by Retail Excellence Ireland, was placed above the shop in early 2012. It replaced the previous one, which read: “High rents are killing our jobs.” (Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland)
The Grafton Street shop closed yesterday, with Corcoran due to hand back the keys this Saturday.
“The problem in this country is that the leases are too long,” he said. “In lots of other countries, the length of commercial leases are the same as residential leases – one year. Commercial lease lengths are 25 times longer than residential leases in Ireland.”
Referring to the length of some commercial leases, Corcoran said that Ireland “had the most anti-tenant leases in the world. They have you in a cage for 25 years and you cant get out.”
There are a lot of leases out there which still have a lot of years left to run. No other government in the world would have signed off on this but the Irish government did.
Corcoran said that he had to close the Grafton Street shop in order to ensure that his other five shops remained economically viable.
A spokesperson from the Dublin Chamber of Commerce said that they hoped that landlords and tenants who found themselves in a similar situation would be able to sit down and work out a plan that would be beneficial to both parties.