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Irish Water - Charges, Second Homes and Other Questions Answered.

Oct 30, 2014
Irish Water has recently announced an extension to the deadline for completion of application form to 30th November 2014.  It is believed the extension was permitted due to the low level of responses received by Irish Water to date.  While Irish Water have announced that in excess of 747,000 people have responded, when questioned if all these people had “signed up” for the water charges, a clear answer was not received. We have reviewed the publications by Irish Water and set out below some of the key points which may be relevant to you.  

1.  Water Service Allowances

In order to obtain water service allowances from Irish Water each household will be required to complete and submit the application pack.  If you do not completed an application, water service allowances will be not allocated to your household. The following water service allowances are currently available from Irish Water: Household water service allowance:            30,000 litres per household per annum Children’s water service allowance:            21,000 litres per child per annum (for children 17 years old or under, in receipt of child benefit) While there has been much controversy surrounding the provision of a PPS number to Irish Water, it must be noted that to avail of the above water service allowances you must provide your PPS number as part of your application, along with the PPS number of your children 17 years old or under.  Irish Water are stating that if you do not provide the relevant PPS numbers, you will not receive the relevant allowances.  

2.  Water Charges

Water charges are levied on both water supplied and wastewater removed from a household.  How you will be charged for your water usage will depend on whether your property is metered or not.

 Metered Households

  Households which are metered will be charged a rate of €2.44 per 1,000 litres, for both water supplied and wastewater removed.  For a property that uses either the water supply or the wastewater removal, a total charge of €4.88 per 1,000 litres will apply. As the actual water usage of a household is relatively unknown at present, during the first 9 months of this scheme the amount payable by metered households will be capped in line with the relevant unmetered charge, if the usage exceeds the equivalent charge for an unmetered house.  For example, if a metered house of 2 adults and 2 children exceeds the “assessed charge” for an unmetered household of 2 adults and 2 children, the charge on the metered household will be capped to the amount paid by the unmetered household.  

 Unmetered Households

  For those properties that have not yet had a meter applied, their water bill will be based on an “assessed charge”, depending on the number of adults and children within the household.  As with metered households, water will be charged separately for both water supplied and wastewater removed. To better understand how an unmetered household will be charged let’s take the above example of a household with 2 adults and 2 children under the age of 17, who have completed the application pack and are in receipt of the relevant allowances.  
Details   Litres
Annual Assessed Volume per service 129,000
Less:    
Annual Household Water Service Allowance (30,000)
Annual Children’s Allowance (21,000 *2) (42,000)
Annual Assessed Volume     57,000
  The following is a summary of how the above household of 2 adults and 2 children under 17 would be assessed:  

Allowances

Water supply and

Water supply or

 

Wastewater removal

Wastewater removal

 

No Allowances Claimed

€629.52

€314.76

(129m3 * €4.88)

(129m3 * €2.44)

With Allowances Claimed

278.16

139.08

(57m3 * €4.88)

(57m3 * €2.44)

  You will note from the above that there is a significant difference between the charges applying to households that have completed their applications and availed of the water service allowances. Further details of water charges can be found here.  

 3.  Holiday Homes/Second Homes

If you own a second home or a holiday home, which is not rented,  it is recommended that you register that property as a “not permanently occupied property”, also known as an unoccupied property.  In this case the property will be subject to the following charges: Water Supply and Wastewater                       €125 per annum Water Supply or wastewater                          €62.50 per annum A separate application pack will be required to be completed for an unoccupied property.  

4.  Rented Property

A welcome aspect of water charges is that as a landlord you are not responsible for the payment of water charges, if you have a tenant in your property.  Irish water clearly states that the responsibility for the payment of water charges rests with the tenant occupying the property.   Also, if your tenant vacates the property without closing their account, they will remain responsible for any payment due. If, as a landlord, you have received an application pack for your rented property you should forward the application number and pin to your tenant in order that they may register their account with Irish Water and claim for the relevant water service allowances. If however your property is unoccupied, you will be responsible for the payment of water charges, but you can register the property as an unoccupied property, as outlined above under point 3.   With the extension of the application period to 30th November next, it is now expected that the first bills will not issue until the end of January 2015, covering the period from 1st October 2013 to 31st December 2013. Irish Water have also recently announced that they are ahead of schedule in connection with the installation of water meters with over 464,000 meters installed to date, which is ahead of the year end target of 450,000, however public perception of Irish Water is not doing as well!   If you have any queries in relation to water charges or would like assistance in relation to your rental properties, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our team.   Images: Shutterstock
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