I have just put a deposit on an apartment to rent and there is a clause in the lease which states that I am responsible for any taxes relating to the property. Is it likely that I could be liable for the property tax even though I don’t own the property?
The lease has probably been drafted by someone acting for the landlord and may therefore seek to protect their interests over yours. The lease is a contract between you and your landlord and should clearly set out each party’s obligations for the duration of the tenancy.
In my experience, taxes associated with property ownership are not normally the responsibility of the tenant. There are a number of taxes for which the property owner is liable. These include: the property tenancy registration charge required by the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB); the non-principal private residence charge (NPPR), commonly known as the second home/property charge which is currently set at €200; and the household charge or interim property tax of €100. This tax is perhaps the charge that your question relates to.
All of the different ways of implementing the tax are currently being reviewed by the Government — ie market value based, site value based and area based tax — but the responsibility for payment of the tax is the property owner’s as opposed to the occupier’s at the moment.
This is unlike the situation in the UK where the tax is payable by the occupier. However, details of the “full” property tax in Ireland have yet to be published.
My advice is to discuss this with the landlord or his agent and query the specific provision in the lease where it states that the tenant is responsible for any taxes relating to the property. If you are not satisfied with the response, you could consult a solicitor who is familiar with landlord and tenant legislation. Other sources of information for tenants include Threshold, which has an excellent web site at threshold.ie.
If necessary you can make a formal complaint through the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) at prtb.ie.
Gerard O’Toole is vice chair of the western region of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland.