The Environment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015 amends the Water Services (No. 2) Act 2013. The 2013 Act now provides that where water services are provided to a dwelling the owner shall register with Irish Water.
If the dwelling is not occupied by the owner (for example if the property is let to a tenant) the owner must notify Irish Water of the name of the tenant and the date of commencement of their occupation. Where the tenant changes, the owner must notify Irish Water within 20 working days. If the owner fails to notify Irish Water the owner is liable for any water charges until they comply. The law now specifically provides that the tenant is liable for water charges.
When selling a dwelling the following will apply:
- the owner must pay any outstanding water charges;
- the owner must provide their solicitor with a certificate of discharge from Irish Water;
- where this certificate is not provided a statement from Irish Water must be obtained setting out the amount due to Irish Water;
- the owner’s solicitor must retain funds from the sale proceeds to pay the outstanding charges within 20 working days of the sale closing;
- Irish Water will issue a receipt.
It is essential that the seller ensures that they are registered and all water payments are up to date to avoid delays in the sale process. At the time of writing, the above provisions have not yet been commenced by the Minister for the Environment.