The Local Government (Charges) Act 2009, as amended, broadened the revenue base of local authorities by introducing a charge on non-principal private residences. The charge is set at €200 and liability for it falls, in the main, on owners of rental, holiday and vacant properties.
The Act has a starting position of a universal liability for residential property in respect of the charge. It goes on to exempt certain buildings and owners from this liability, the most important exemption being where a property is occupied by the owner as his or her sole or main residence on the liability date. Where a property is not occupied by the owner, it falls liable for the charge, even if it is the only property that person owns.
The Act places collection of the charge under the care and management of local authorities. I have recently issued guidelines to local authorities for use in the context of individual situations where genuine hardship in having to discharge a liability in a single payment can be demonstrated. The guidelines set out the modalities for local authorities in relation to entering into payment arrangements for the discharge of outstanding liabilities in instalments over a specified period. Enquiries in this regard should be directed to the relevant local authority.