Home Economics - Questions and answers
QI recently sold my house prior to moving abroad. I paid my property tax for 2013 but in order for the house sale to close this week, I was told I have to pay the property tax for 2014 also. The buyers of my house, who will live there in 2014, are first-time buyers and are therefore exempt from property tax for three years. The house is either taxable or not, surely?
Questions to this column on the Local Property Tax (LPT) continue unabated. There seems no let-up in the levels of confusion out there and that's not surprising.
Even though this is ostensibly a tax on property, it seems Revenue take the view that it is, at the same time, a tax on the individual. They say that whoever is the registered owner of the property on November 1, 2013 is liable to pay the tax for 2014. If this seems unfair, I doubt anyone would disagree with you, especially as the tax itself is not due until January 1, 2014.
However, that is the date which was selected and yes, you do owe it in full for the year even though you will not occupy the property or, indeed, own it for any part of that time.
You also have an obligation to provide the purchaser with the valuation band you declare, details of any exemptions claimed and clearance from Revenue to prove it has been paid.
Revenue adds: "Where the agreed sales price places the property in a higher valuation band than was declared when filing the LPT return, confirm whether specific written clearance is required from Revenue in relation to any potential under-declared liability." There is a separate form (LPT5) to be completed in this case."
QMy next-door neighbour, who moved in six months ago, has just put up hideous fencing on top of the garden wall we share. It's around four-foot high but it's cheap burlap which looks just awful and blocks some of our light. Is there anything we can do? I put a note in the door but got no reply.
It's a shame to fall out with your neighbours, but I think your grievances are justified. My instinct would be to make a friendly call, and ask if the structure is temporary or permanent. Invite the neighbour in to have a look at the fence's impact and with a bit of luck that might resolve things. If not, you may have to opt for the unpalatable legal route.
Susan Cosgrove of Cosgrove Gaynard Solicitors says that it is governed by the Land & Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009 and depends on whether planning permission was required, or obtained.
"Works should not cause substantial damage or inconvenience to a neighbour. In this matter, it is questionable whether this would be exempt development under current planning legislation given its height. It can be reported to the local authority which has the power to issue an enforcement notice to remove it.
"Your right to light is a separate matter. Your neighbour should have obtained your consent, or applied for a works order, which cannot be granted where there would be any permanent interference with an easement of light. You can begin legal proceedings for compensation or to have it torn down."