Owners of dwellings (typically private residences) have new obligations in respect of water charges prior to the sale of such dwellings. Legislation commenced on 1 January 2016 requires that owners prior to the sale of a dwelling:
- Pay to Irish Water the water charges in respect of the dwelling.
- Provide to their solicitor:
- a certificate of discharge from Irish Water confirming that the water charges have been paid; or
- a statement from Irish Water that any charge payable is not the liability of the owner.
Solicitors for such owners also have new obligations:
- If the owner fails to provide the required certificate or statement, the solicitor is required to request an Irish Water statement of charges payable from the owner client in the first instance and if not forthcoming from Irish Water.
- The solicitor is required to withhold the amount set out in such statement from the net proceeds of sale and to pay that amount to Irish Water.
Although unpaid water charges will not result in a charge on the property, unlike unpaid local property tax, the new legislation makes it very difficult for sellers to avoid paying water charges.