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Owner’s Liability to pay Commercial Rates

21 October, 2019

The Local Government Rates and Other Matters Act 2019 was enacted on 11 July 2019 to deal with various aspects of the collection of commercial rates and related matters. 

Concerns were expressed by the Irish Law Society to the Department of Housing Planning and Local Government in relation to Section 13(1) which, on the face of it, had the effect of making a landlord liable to discharge arrears of commercial rates accrued by a tenant before a relevant property could be sold!

The Law Society submitted that this provision was at odds with the Act’s Explanatory Memorandum and with the intention of the legislature, as expressed in Dáil debates that preceded the passing of the legislation, which was that the provision only applies to rates liabilities accrued by the owner when the owner is also the occupier of the property.

The Department agreed that the wording of the provision did not align with the intention of the legislature as articulated in the houses of the Oireachtas, and confirmed that on receipt by it of legal advice it intends to remedy the provision by way of a legislative amendment. It was also confirmed that the Department does not propose commencing the provision until that amendment is made.