Louise Morton of Wexford Rentals & Property Management understands that Landlords will now be obliged to pass tenant details to Irish Water and that lease agreements will compel occupants to pay water charges, under new legislation.
The Government was immediately criticised last night of trying to sneak the “draconian” measures through the Dáil in a “Trojan horse” approach. Under the legislation, to go before the Dáil next week, owners will have to pay charges before they sell homes and housing bodies will be forced to chase tenants for unpaid bills. While most of the measures were flagged by Environment Minister Alan Kelly earlier this year, property owners last night warned that landlords could still be stuck with unpaid bills under the proposals. The measures come as Irish Water warns households they have just days to sign up for grants to help pay water bills before an end of month deadline. After this, homeowners or tenants will not be approved for grants to reduce charges by €100. The new measures to persuade people to pay their water bills under the legislation will include:
– Obligations on property owners to provide information to Irish Water on occupiers of a property.
– All new tenancy agreements for occupiers must include a commitment to pay water charges.
– Owners of properties must pay charges owed before the sale of a property can proceed.
– Owners must register with a new database or they will be denied Water ‘Conservation’ Grants.
– Housing bodies will have to ensure bills are paid.
Louise Morton who is a member of the Irish Property Owners Association, who last night questioned if the new legislation went far enough in ensuring that landlords did not get stuck with unpaid bills. A spokeswoman welcomed the removal of a previous proposal to retain tenants deposits if bills aren’t paid. However, she said there were concerns if no sanctions are in place if tenants do not pay bills. “If a tenant uses quite a bit of water, you could have unlimited bills. They could end up being the responsibility of landlords.” But Mr Kelly said: “Nobody will have their water supply cut off or pressure reduced, so other measures are required to ensure compliance with water charges.”