Landlords and Irish Water ~ Tenants’ Details

Property owners who have tenants have been quite concerned about their potential exposure to Irish Water for arears of water charges, effectively a utility bill incurred by their tenants.

 

Some clarity has been brought to this area through amendments to the Water Services (No. 2) Act 2013 arising from the Environment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015. Of particular significance is Section 47 of the 2015 Act which inserts a new Section 23A into the Water Services (No. 2) Act 2013. This section was commenced by the Environment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015 (Commencement) (No. 2) Order 2015 which was promulgated by the Minister for the Environment on 30th September, 2015 appointing 1st October 2015 as the date upon which the provision enters into legal force and effect.

 

The significance of this is that the new Section 23A(4) provides that where a non-occupying property owner (a landlord) has not provided the tenants’ details to Irish Water within twenty days of the commencement of Section 23A or twenty days of the commencement of the tenancy if later, then the property owner shall be responsible for the charges levied by Irish Water until the property owner complies with their obligation.

 

Consequently and somewhat urgently given how little fanfare accompanied the bringing into force of this provision, in respect of pre-existing tenancies, property owners have twenty days from 1st October, 2015 to provide tenants’ details to Irish Water. If a property owner is any doubt as to whether or not their tenants are registered then they should write to Irish Water and advise them of the tenants’ details. Irish Water’s address according to its website is P.O. Box 860, South City Delivery Office, Cork City.

 

The new provision requires Irish Water to be notified as to:

 

“(i)       the date of commencement of any agreement for the occupation of the dwelling, and

 

(ii)        the name of each person with whom the owner has such an agreement for the occupation of the dwelling”.

 

In respect of new tenancies arising after 1st October, 2015, Irish Water must be notified within twenty days of the change of occupier of the dwelling concerned.

 

Section 23A(5)(a) also provides that unless the letting/tenancy agreement provides to the contrary every agreement for the occupation of a dwelling entered into after 1st October, 2015 shall be “deemed to include a provision that the occupier shall pay to Irish Water any charge.. in respect of the dwelling for the period from the date on which the agreement commences until the date on which the occupier vacates the dwelling.”

 

While this provisions brings welcome clarity as to which party, the landlord or the tenant, is responsible for paying the water charges, it does not affect the landlords obligation to notify Irish Water of the tenants’ details.

 

This information is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal or professional advice. Professional or legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this publication. No liability is accepted by Hammond Good, Solicitors for any action taken in reliance on the information contained therein. Any and all information is subject to change. For further information on the subject, please contact the author, Richard Hammond, at richard@hgs.ie