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Written Answers - Local Authority Charges

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 754 No. 3

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 343.  Deputy Jim Daly Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly  asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Philip Hogan Zoom on Philip Hogan  if he has given instructions to local authority managers to exercise discretion when collecting arrears for the non principal private residence charge for persons who genuinely cannot afford to pay or to persons living abroad who have not been aware of the charge to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6758/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Philip Hogan Zoom on Philip Hogan 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.

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. In this regard, application of the legislation in particular circumstances is a matter for the relevant local authority. Interpretation of the legislation is a matter for legal advice in individual cases and ultimately a matter for the courts.

My Department is currently engaged with the City and County Managers’ Association in the development of guidelines for local authorities in relation to the operation of the “care and management” provisions of the legislation. In particular, this guidance will deal with situations where significant arrears of non-principal private residence charges and late payment fees have [479]arisen and where a person can demonstrate genuine hardship in having to discharge their liability in a single payment. In such cases, the guidelines will set out the modalities for local authorities, exercising their functions under the care and management provisions, including where payment of the outstanding liability in a single payment would result in hardship, entering into payment arrangements for the discharge of outstanding liabilities in instalments over a specified period.

Question No. 344 answered with Question No. 316.

 345.  Deputy Paul J. Connaughton Information on Paul Connaughton Zoom on Paul Connaughton  asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Philip Hogan Zoom on Philip Hogan  the reason residents of an estate (details supplied) in County Galway are not entitled to a waiver from the household charge in view of the fact that it is an unfinished estate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6818/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Philip Hogan Zoom on Philip Hogan As part of the process of preparing the National Housing Development Survey 2011, published by my Department in October 2011, local authorities provided details of all unfinished housing developments in their areas. Unfinished housing developments were divided into four categories as follows:

Category one, where the development is still being actively completed by the developer, or where no serious public safety issues exist;

Category two, where a receiver has been appointed;

Category three, where a receiver has not been appointed and the developer is still in place but effectively inactive; and

Category four, where the development has been effectively abandoned and is posing serious problems for residents.

This categorisation formed the basis for the list of those unfinished developments eligible for a waiver on the annual household charge. Only households in developments in categories three and four are eligible for the waiver.

Question No. 346 answered with Question No. 332.


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