Water Utility collecting PPS Numbers

Sarenco

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The relevant legislation creates a rebuttable presumption that the owner and occupier of a dwelling are one and the same. However, the legislation does NOT create a secondary liability on the part of an owner to discharge any water charges that are unpaid by the occupier of that dwelling. Irish Water are entitled to access details from the PRTB so there is no legislative basis for any suggestion that the owner of a property that is subject to a registered tenancy would ever be liable for water charges relating to that property.
 

Bronte

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The relevant legislation creates a rebuttable presumption that the owner and occupier of a dwelling are one and the same. However, the legislation does NOT create a secondary liability on the part of an owner to discharge any water charges that are unpaid by the occupier of that dwelling. Irish Water are entitled to access details from the PRTB so there is no legislative basis for any suggestion that the owner of a property that is subject to a registered tenancy would ever be liable for water charges relating to that property.
Very good post. Especialy for a first and only post, perchance someone in Irish water. I suspected the same myself. Irish Water are trying to 'encourage' landlords to register or get their tenants to register.

In the meantime I am in contact with Irish water and it will be at least a week before they confirm the legal situation.

I believe Joe Duffy's team are also seeking clarity. And the IPOA is working on clarity.
 

PyritePete

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did anyone catch PrimeTime last night, there was a lady from Irish water on. She seemed to explain away the data transfer to outside the EU as for maintainence reasons, so someone who could fix whatever issue remotely ?

I agree with one of the contributors that we should pay for GOOD service.

One other contributor saying this lady was twisting the truth...by giving PPS numbers we get the allowance.
 

Sarenco

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Hi Bronte,

I'm afraid I have no connection whatsoever with Irish Water. I just find it very frustrating that Irish Water appear to be adopting a position that is completely at odds with the relevant legislation.

The Commission for Energy Regulation (which regulates Irish Water) has published the following on its website as part of a series of FAQs:

Q: I own a property, which I rent out to tenants. Who pays the water charge on my property?
The occupier or tenant of a property should pay the water charges applicable to that property. However, where an occupier cannot be identified, then liability for the charges defaults to the owner who will ultimately be responsible for the payment of those charges.

So far so good. If the occupier of a property cannot be identified (for example because the property owner has failed to register a tenancy with the PRTB) then the property owner is deemed to be the occupier of that property under the legislation and is liable for any outstanding water charges.

However, Irish Water appear to be taking this one step further by saying that if the occupier of a property fails to pay a water charge then the obligation to make this payment somehow "defaults" to the property owner, even in circumstances where that occupier can be identified by Irish Water. This is simply nonsense.

Aside from the lack of legislative basis for this position, how would it work in practice? For example, at what point would the property owner become liable for this unpaid charge (i.e. would the charge have to be outstanding for 30 days, six months, a full year?). Also, if a property owner did pay outstanding water charges in these circumstances, would this discharge the occupier from any further liability or would Irish Water be entitled to continue to pursue the defaulting occupier?

Like many others on this forum, I am fully supportive of the "user pays" principle when it comes to precious resources like water. However, I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that the implementation of this important policy by Irish Water is turning into a fiasco and requires urgent intervention by the CER.
 

sahd

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However, Irish Water appear to be taking this one step further by saying that if the occupier of a property fails to pay a water charge then the obligation to make this payment somehow "defaults" to the property owner, even in circumstances where that occupier can be identified by Irish Water. This is simply nonsense.
Where have Irish Water said that? I think that may be a misquote or misinterpretation that has appeared in a paper or online somewhere.
They have not said that .
 

Sarenco

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Well, the following is apparently a direct quotation from an Irish Water help centre agent that was reproduced in last week's Sunday Independent:

"In the worst case scenario, if the tenants tried to dodge the bill, the onus would fall on the landlord," he said.

I have no idea whether this the agent was misquoted or whether the agent is misrepresenting the position of Irish Water (which is why I referred to the position that Irish Water appear to be adopting).
 

diver

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I am a landlord. I received the Irish Water pack to my home address today in respect of the rental property.

If I fill out my own details as a landlord, it's possible I may become liable for water charges if the tenant doesn't pay. This is not something I'm prepared to do. All other utilities are paid for by my tenant with no liability on me if they default on payments (bill follows the tenant etc).

So, my other option is to get the tenant to fill out their PPS no etc in my presence and I post the return letter back to Irish Water? How will I know if the information supplied is correct? If it's not, will they still chase me as the landlord?

There are too many variables in this whole sorry mess.

What are other landlords planning on doing in this above scenario?
 

sahd

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Well, the following is apparently a direct quotation from an Irish Water help centre agent that was reproduced in last week's Sunday Independent:

"In the worst case scenario, if the tenants tried to dodge the bill, the onus would fall on the landlord," he said.

I have no idea whether this the agent was misquoted or whether the agent is misrepresenting the position of Irish Water (which is why I referred to the position that Irish Water appear to be adopting).
A second hand quote from a call center operative is not official policy.
That's half the problem with a lot of the "uproar" about the water charges - people hear things and see things in papers or on facebook and believe them to be true.

ANyway - that quote could be justas easily referring to the tenant "dodging the bill" by not registering in the first place.

Basically if nobody declares themselves as occupants and Irish Water know who the owner is what else can they do except go after the owner for water charges?
 

Bronte

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A second hand quote from a call center operative is not official policy.
That's half the problem with a lot of the "uproar" about the water charges - people hear things and see things in papers or on facebook and believe them to be true.

ANyway - that quote could be justas easily referring to the tenant "dodging the bill" by not registering in the first place.

Basically if nobody declares themselves as occupants and Irish Water know who the owner is what else can they do except go after the owner for water charges?
I totally disagree that they can come after me as non occupier until I see a legal basis for this. So far I've been only able to clarify this,

non occupiers are not liable.

In addition I telephoned the call center and spoke to one person and later the supervisor as I was getting nowhere. Both told me I was the liable person if the tenant did not register. When I asked on what basis, they actually told me to go to www.irishstatutebook.ie to look up the legislation. I asked them which legislation, and what clause on what page. 'We are not legally qualified to answer that' is what I got.

I asked whose idea was it to direct people to the legislation, 'that's what we learnt at the training'. I nearly hit the roof at that.

Finally via the supervisor's advice I have taken this further and when I have my correct answer I will get back on here.

In addition to that, I have it in writing from them, and not just from one person

- if the tenants don't fill out the form that I am liable -

- that as landlord I am the legal owner, if the tenants don't register, then I am liable -

I've slightly changed the wording there, so as not to be identifiable and I'm not the only one working on this, but so far they are unable to prove to me that I am liable. As I said Joe Duffy's team are working on it, and so are the IPOA.

What I do however believe is that, IF I fill out the form, I'm somehow making myself liable. I've no intention of doing this.
 

delgirl

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I am a landlord. I received the Irish Water pack to my home address today in respect of the rental property.

If I fill out my own details as a landlord, it's possible I may become liable for water charges if the tenant doesn't pay. This is not something I'm prepared to do. All other utilities are paid for by my tenant with no liability on me if they default on payments (bill follows the tenant etc).

So, my other option is to get the tenant to fill out their PPS no etc in my presence and I post the return letter back to Irish Water? How will I know if the information supplied is correct? If it's not, will they still chase me as the landlord?

There are too many variables in this whole sorry mess.

What are other landlords planning on doing in this above scenario?
Complete the form with your tenant's details and check the 'tenant' box on the form - you only need 1 PPS number and you should have this already when you registered the tenancy with the PRTB.

If there are children in the house, ask the tenant for their PPS numbers and list them on the form. Ask the tenant if they want to pay by Direct Debit or if they wish to receive a bill. If by DD, they need to give you their bank details, if not leave that section blank and send off the form to Irish Water.

I've done this with my tenants and would definitely not risk posting or giving the form to the tenant to complete as my name is on it as the owner of the property.
 

Bronte

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Delgirl, Irish water told me I'm not allowed to fill out the form for the tenants, something to do with data protection. I told them I have my tenant's PPS numbers as I was allowed to fill it out for the PRTB, but they explained because this is going to be a 'charge' then I'm not allowed to fill it out.
 

delgirl

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To be honest with you, I don't really care what they say. There's no signature required and I have completed and sent off the forms.

My tenants are nice people, but I couldn't risk them not sending off the forms either on time or at all as my name is on the forms.

If they have access to the PRTB database, which I believe they do, then they should have sent the forms to the tenants directly and not to the landlords.
 

sahd

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To be honest with you, I don't really care what they say. There's no signature required and I have completed and sent off the forms.

My tenants are nice people, but I couldn't risk them not sending off the forms either on time or at all as my name is on the forms.

If they have access to the PRTB database, which I believe they do, then they should have sent the forms to the tenants directly and not to the landlords.
Maybe they would have sent forms to the tenants once you returned your form confirming your properties ?
 

Bronte

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Thanks Sahd for it's location, here's it in full (and we had it on the other thread too)

(5) It shall be presumed, unless the contrary is proved, that the owner of a premises is also the occupier of that premises.

By the way, I also asked IW (Irish Water) what proof they require from me to show I'm a non occupier, no reply to that either.
 

delgirl

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Maybe they would have sent forms to the tenants once you returned your form confirming your properties ?
Hi Sahd, I'm not sure which form you're referring to - the only one I received was the actual registration form from Irish Water with my name on it and the addresses of my rental properties.
 

Bronte

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To be honest with you, I don't really care what they say. There's no signature required and I have completed and sent off the forms.

.
Didn't realise that either, I've no form of any description yet. Great news, no signature required, sure it's easy peasy for me to fill out the form for the tenants so.
 

sahd

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Hi Sahd, I'm not sure which form you're referring to - the only one I received was the actual registration form from Irish Water with my name on it and the addresses of my rental properties.
I was talking about the tenants forms? Where were they sent and in whose name?
 

delgirl

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My tenants didn't get any forms, the forms came to my home address instead with my name on them and the addresses of the rental properties.

I got the child's PPS number from one of the tenants and she said she'd prefer not to pay by DD so I filled in the form and sent it off.

I'm afraid if I don't do it, I'll end up having to pay as my name is on the forms.
 

Time

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My brother is a tenant and got his form addressed to "The Occupier, Flat xxx, etc".
 
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