I propose to take Questions Nos. 187, 188 and 203 together.
I understand that Question No. 203 concerns the non-principal private residence charge. 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. Section 6 of the 2009 Act, as amended, provides that the owner of a liable property who fails to pay the charge, in addition to his or her being liable to pay the charge, is liable to pay to the relevant local authority a €20 late payment fee in respect of each month or part of a month in which the charge, any late payment fee, or any part of such charge or fee, remains unpaid.
Under the Act, it is a function of a local authority to collect non-principal private residence charges and late payment fees due to it and all charges and late payment fees imposed and payable to a local authority are under the care and management of the local authority concerned. I have issued guidelines to local authorities in relation to the operation of the “care and management” provisions of the legislation in instances in which genuine hardship in having to discharge a liability in a single payment can be demonstrated. Queries concerning non-principal private residence charge operational matters, such as the issuing of reminder letters, should be directed to the relevant local authority or authorities.