As property owners are aware, it is an offence to fail to pay the household charge. What may come as a surprise, according to LandlordsOnline.ie, is that Estate Agents and Auctioneers will also be at risk of prosecution if their client sells a property under circumstances where the Household Charge or NPPR Charge, or any late payment fees or interest due, are unpaid at the time of sale.
In respect of the Household Charge, Section 10(8) of the Local Government (Household Charge) Act 2011 which contains the definition of “Vendor” extends to place agents firmly in the line of fire if they are acting as agents of the Vendor and receive proceeds of sale or part thereof on behalf of the Vendor. In respect of the NPPR Charge, the definition of “Vendor” is extended by Section 19(1)(j) of the Local Government (Household Charge) Act 2011. “Receiving” proceeds of sale or part thereof is likely to include receipt of deposits or booking deposits by an Auctioneer or Estate Agent on behalf of his client vendor.
Estate Agents and Auctioneers found guilty of an offence could face a fine up to €2,500 on summary conviction.
When acting in the sale of a residential property, agents would need to protect themselves by seeking confirmation that the Household Charge and NPPR Charge, and any late payment penalties or fees, have been paid in full. The only definitive evidence of full payment is a copy of a Certificate of Discharge, Waiver or Exemption (as appropriate) and this can be obtained by applying in writing the relevant local authority for the property.