The lease has probably been drafted by someone acting for the landlord and may therefore seek to protect their interest over yours. The lease is a contract between you and your landlord and should clearly set out each parties obligations for the duration of the tenancy. There is a good deal of landlord and tenant legislation in Ireland including the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 which was the last major legislative reform of the property rental sector.
In my experience, taxes associated with property ownership are not normally the responsibility of the tenant. There are a number of taxes for which the property owner is liable for. These include the property tenancy registration charge required by the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB), the Non-Principal Private Residence charge (NPPR), commonly known as the second home/property charge which is currently set at €200.00 and the ‘household charge’ or interim property tax of €100 . This tax is perhaps the charge that your question relates to and was introduced as a flat rate property tax but is likely to increase when a ‘full’ property tax is introduced next year.
While all of the different ways of implementing the tax are currently being reviewed by Government (i.e. market value based, site value based and area based tax), the responsibility for payment of the tax will be the property owner as opposed to the occupier. Therefore it will be the landlord’s responsibility. This is unlike the situation in the UK whereby the tax is payable by the occupier. However, how it is introduced in Ireland remains to be seen when full details of the ‘full’ property tax are published.
My advice is to discuss this with the landlord or his/agent and query the specific provision in the lease where it states the tenant is responsible for any taxes relating to the property. If you are not satisfied with the response, you could consult a solicitor who is familiar with Landlord and Tenant Legislation. Other sources of information for tenants include Threshold who have an excellent web site www.threshold.ie
If you have subsequently entered into the lease agreement you should discuss this issue with the landlord or his/agent but ultimately you can make a formal complaint through the Private Residential Tenancy Board (PRTB) at www.prtb.ie
Gerard O’Toole - Chartered Surveyor and Vice Chair of the Western Region of the Society of Chartered Surveyors