Friday 19 January 2018

FF vows to offset management fees against property tax

Senator Darragh O’Brien said people were forced to pay on the double for basic services
Senator Darragh O’Brien said people were forced to pay on the double for basic services
John Downing

John Downing

Fianna Fáil has pledged to give flat owners and householders in managed estates a property tax rebate against the management fees they must pay.

The party's Dublin spokesman, Senator Darragh O'Brien, said tens of thousands of people were "paying on the double" for basic services via the local tax and management fees. He published a draft law which would give them a discount equal to one-third of their management fees up to a maximum of €300 per year.

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"Thousands of people living in apartments or managed estates are paying a fortune in management fees every year.

"This pays for some of the services that the council would otherwise provide, including keeping the grounds, maintaining the roads and paths, maintaining public lighting and managing public parking," Mr O'Brien told the Irish Independent.

The senator said people paying management fees were in practice already paying privately for many of the services that the councils provided.

The local property tax was meant to help fund local services, so the fees and the local tax meant a double charge for the same thing, which left an undeniable case for a reduction.

The party's public expenditure spokesman, Sean Fleming, pledged to introduce the measure into the Dáil later this week.

Mr Fleming, a TD for Laois-Offaly, said the Government had rushed through a poorly planned local property tax regime which did not take account of anomalies like this.

Mr Fleming said many reforms were needed and a rebate for those paying management fees was the most urgent.

He pledged the party would bring in other reforms. Chief of these was guaranteeing that the current valuation bands would remain in place until 2020.

"We would also lift the burden of property tax for homeowners suffering from serious pyrite damage for three years, or until such time as the problem is remedied," he said.

"Too many family homes have been devastated by pyrite and it is completely unfair to ask them to pay the property tax while taking on the massive costs and the upheaval of fixing their pyrite problems."

Irish Independent

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