In July 2016, the Court of Appeal held that the Circuit Court does not have jurisdiction to hear possession proceedings regarding non-rateable residential properties which are neither principal private residences nor secured by housing loan mortgages. That decision had potentially significant implications for the timing and cost of possession proceedings, and cast doubt on the Circuit Court's jurisdiction in respect of other disputes concerning such properties.
The Supreme Court has now provided welcome clarity on the matter, and reached a different conclusion.
The Court of Appeal decision related to the following limited category of properties:
- Property built after 2 May 2002.
- Mortgage entered into before 1 December 2009.
- Possession proceedings initiated before 31 July 2013.
The Supreme Court, in a judgment delivered on 12 December 2017, has concluded that the literal meaning of the relevant legislation is that the Circuit Court has jurisdiction, unless (a) the property actually has a rateable valuation and (b) that the rateable valuation exceeds €253.95.
The case of PTSB v Langan involved six properties that were built after 2 May 2002 and mortgaged by Mr Langan in favour of PTSB before 1 December 2009. Each was a "domestic premises" for the purposes of the Valuation Act 2001 i.e. a "...property which consists wholly or partly of premises used as a dwelling and which is neither a mixed premises nor an apart-hotel".
The key question was whether the Circuit Court had jurisdiction in possession proceedings in respect of those six properties.
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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.