Following lobbying by the commercial property sector and the Law Society, the Department has confirmed that the Local Government Rates and Other Matters Act 2019 will be amended to ensure that owners who propose to sell property will not be obliged to pay any unpaid rates of occupiers.
The Act was enacted on 11 July 2019 to deal with various aspects of the collection of commercial rates and related matters. The drafting of section 13(1) was such that it would have required owners who propose to sell property to pay any unpaid rates to the local authority before the completion of the sale. In an investment property sale, this would have required the owner to pay any unpaid rates due from tenants, thereby purporting to shift liability for rates from the occupier to the owner.
The Department has agreed that the wording of the section does not align with the legislature's intention as articulated in Oireachtas debates and that it is contrary to established principles and other provisions of the Act itself. On receipt of legal advice, the Department intends to remedy the section by way of a legislative amendment.
This article contains a general summary of developments and is not a complete or definitive statement of the law. Specific legal advice should be obtained where appropriate.