Irish Water has said landlords will not be held liable for arrears of water charges built up by their tenants.
The utility firm said landlords will be sent application packs in relation to their rental properties, which they must forward to the tenants.
In the case of an owner occupier, the full allowances in relation to water usage are allocated in the normal way and the occupier is liable for the bill.
A spokeswoman explained that if the property was unoccupied the landlord could claim unoccupied dwelling status and pay a set charge. The level of which is still under consideration by the regulator. In this case the landlord is liable for the charge.
However in the case of a rented property, Irish Water said, “The tenant is liable for the charge and is also eligible for the allowances as the property is the principal primary residence of that household.”
However the spokeswoman said application packs for rented dwellings would be addressed to the landlord, at the landlord’s residence, and it would be the landlord’s responsibility to ensure the tenant received the application pack.
Bills are to be issued quarterly, but as Irish Water will have the tenant’s PPS number, the utility firm will be able to pursue the tenant for any arrears and even apply any arrears to new accounts, when the tenant moves to a new address.
Last week landlords had expressed concern over potential arrears, the liability for them and the possibility of being used as collection agents by Irish Water.
The spokeswoman said she would ascertain the position of long-term foreign renters, such as students, who may not have a PPS number, and said this would be clarified in due course.
The spokeswoman also said many landlords may not have yet received their application packs in relation to their rental properties, but these would be arriving in the coming days.
Landlords’ home addresses were acquired from local authorities where there was a payment for the non-principal private residence tax, or the local property tax, she said.