The Local Government (Household Charge) Act 2011 was enacted on 19th December 2011, having been first announced by the government on budget day on 6th December 2011. The Legal Profession was not consulted on how the Act might affect the conveyancing process in practice and, regrettably, had no opportunity for input.
Because the Act provides that the household charge is a charge on the property to which it relates, solicitors should, on or before closing a transaction, seek confirmation of whether the property in sale is liable to the charge, and if so, obtain a certificate of discharge of the statutory charge on the property to place with the title deeds. If it is claimed by the Vendor that the property is not liable to the local authority household charge, the purchaser’s solicitor should seek confirmation of this by way of either a certificate of exemption or a certificate of waiver, as appropriate. The vendor’s solicitor should also keep a copy of the relevant certificate as evidence of the instructions of the client as it may be of assistance should the solicitor later be prosecuted under Section 10(6).
This means, if you are selling or transferring your house, then you must prove the household charge is paid up-to-date.
Holland Condon – a law firm in Kilkenny, Ireland.