Property Law Property Purchases and Sales

Problems arising with title to your property-statutory provision to the rescue?

buying irish property from abroad

The Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009 may come to your rescue if there is a problem with the title to a property.


Section 59(1) provides

59.— (1) Recitals, statements and descriptions of facts, matters and parties contained in instruments, statutory provisions or statutory declarations 15 years old at the date of the contract are, unless and except so far as they are proved to be inaccurate, sufficient evidence of the truth of such facts, matters and parties.

Rent of leasehold

Section 59

(2) Where land sold is held under a tenancy (other than a subtenancy), the purchaser shall assume, unless the contrary appears, that the tenancy was duly granted; and, on production of the receipt for the last payment due for rent under the tenancy before the date of the actual completion of the purchase, the purchaser shall assume, unless the contrary appears, that all the covenants and provisions of the tenancy have been duly performed and observed up to the date of actual completion of the purchase.

All estates

Section 76 states

76.— (1) Subject to subsection (2), a conveyance of land passes all the claim, demand, estate, interest, right and title which the grantor has or has power to convey in, to or on the land conveyed or expressed or intended to be conveyed.

(2) This section takes effect subject to the terms of the conveyance.

Receipt clause

Section 77 (1) states

77.— (1) A receipt for consideration in the body of a deed is sufficient discharge for the consideration to the person giving it, without any further receipt being endorsed on the deed.

Implied covenants

Section 80 Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009 sets out the implied covenants in a conveyance for value. These implied covenants would include

  • The vendor has full right to convey the property
  • The vendor warrants a covenant for quiet enjoyment
  • The vendor warrants the property is free from encumbrances
  • The vendor will execute further assurances to vest the interest contracted, if necessary.

Statutory acknowledgment and undertaking

Section 84 binds the person in possession of documents to produce them for inspection or in court to establish title and to furnish copies on request.

Business and Company Law Property Law

Landlords to Be Held Liable for Rates of Tenants?

Landlords and lenders were at risk of being held liable for outstanding rates of tenants pursuant to the Local Government Rates and Other Matters Act 2019.

Section 13 of the act provides:

Payment of rates on sale of relevant property

13. (1) The owner of a relevant property who proposes to sell the property shall, before the completion of the sale, pay to the local authority concerned any rates imposed under this Act and accrued interest which is due and payable in respect of that property.

(2) The local authority concerned shall provide a person referred to in subsection (1) or a person acting on behalf of the person in connection with a sale of a relevant property with—

(a) confirmation of any unpaid rates imposed under this Act and accrued interest at the date of the sale of a relevant property, or

(b) confirmation that there are no outstanding amounts payable,

as the case may be, in such form and manner as may be prescribed.

(3) In this section—

“sale” includes, in relation to a relevant property, the transfer of the property by its owner or any trustee or personal representative of the owner to another person—

(a) in consequence of—

(i) the exercise of a power under any enactment to compulsorily acquire land, or

(ii) the giving of notice of intention to exercise such power,


(b) for no consideration or consideration which is significantly less than the market value of the property at the time of its transfer.

It is likely that this provision also obliges a receiver or mortgagee in possession to pay the outstanding rates on or before a sale.

Section 14 of the act provides that interest can be charged on unpaid rates:

Unpaid rates to be a charge on relevant property

14. (1) Any rates levied by a rating authority in respect of a relevant property payable under this Act and any interest referred to in section 12 which is due and unpaid by the owner of the relevant property shall be and remain a charge on the relevant property to which it relates.

(2) Notwithstanding section 36 of the Statute of Limitations 1957, the charge referred to in subsection (1) shall continue to apply without a time limit until such time as it is paid in full.

(3) This section does not affect—

(a) the liability of any previous occupier for outstanding rates in respect of which he or she is primarily liable, or

(b) the functions of the rating authority concerned under any other enactment to collect any outstanding rates from the occupier or occupiers primarily liable.

Section 7 of the Local Government Rates and other Matters Act 2019 provides for set off of rates against any money owing by the local authority against any money due to the local authority.

Discharge of rates by set-off

7. Where a sum is due to any person by a local authority and, at the same time, a sum is due to such local authority by such person in respect of rates the former sum may be set off against the latter either, as may be appropriate, in whole or in part.

Section 12 provides for interest to be charged on overdue rates.


Landlords and lenders would be held liable for rates of tenants if all of this act commenced without amendment. There was significant lobbying, however, with the result the the act will be amended before coming into effect. The Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government has recognised that if it came into law without amendment there may well be significant unforeseen and unintended consequences.

The most likely change is to ensure that landlords and banks are not liable for outstanding rates of tenants, but this remains to be seen. Watch this space.

Property Law

Email Signature Sufficient for Binding Property Contract

A contract for the sale of land in Ireland must be evidenced in writing. The situation is similar in the UK where a contract for the sale of land must be signed by, or on behalf of both parties.

An interesting decision has been handed down by the County Court in Manchester where a dispute arose concerning the sale of a piece of land near Lake Windermere.

The proposed purchase of the land saw email correspondence being exchanged between the solicitors for buyer and seller. 

The price of £175,000 was proposed by email by the solicitor for the vendor and this was accepted by the purchaser’s solicitor, by email. Subsequently the vendors decided they wanted £200,000 for the property and their solicitor stated there was no enforceable contract to sell for £175,000 as the terms were not signed by, or on behalf of, both parties.

Manchester Crown Court had to decide whether the email signature block was sufficient to be accepted as a signature by the solicitor for the buyers and decided that the intention with the signature block in the email was to connect the name to the email and bind the contract between the parties.

Accordingly the Court found there was an enforceable contract and the email signature was sufficient to form a contract.

Property Law Property Purchases and Sales

How to Negotiate Successfully-10 Tips for Effective Negotiations

negotiation tactics

Many people do not like to negotiate or haggle. But it is essential in our daily lives and we are regularly forced to negotiate whether we like it or not.

It may be with a loved one, with a child, with a service worker at an airline desk, with a receptionist in a hotel, with a Judge or member of an Garda Siochána, with a referee on a sports pitch, with an adjudicator at a WRC hearing, or when you are buying something like a car or a house or business.

If you accept this, you might as well learn how to do it successfully and for the best possible outcome.

I have negotiated to buy and sell property for over 30 years and I have learned, through practice and research, some useful tactics to the best results.

Let’s look at what I have learned, shall we, in the context of buying a house?

1. Listen carefully and aggressively to the other side

You need to listen very carefully to what the other side is saying because you will usually pick up some vital clue as to the other party’s real position-their real position as opposed to what the auctioneer says is the reason for sale. You may not meet the vendors themselves but if you do it is a good opportunity to pick up some vital clues about the property and the motivation for sale.

You need to practice the same aggressive listening skills when speaking with the auctioneer and the staff working in his/her office. It is amazing what you might hear in an unguarded moment when you speak with a busy receptionist or support staff.

You may not hear anything but keep in mind you have two ears and one mouth for a reason.

2. Adopt a friendly/playful voice

The tone of your voice and your general demeanour are factors in how the other side will react to you and your position. A friendly, non-threatening voice is the one I have found most helpful.

3. Tactical empathy

Showing empathy for the other party’s position is valuable and is only possible when you follow the advice in number 1 above: listen carefully to the other side.

4. Be prepared to walk away

No deal is better than a bad deal and you do need to be prepared to walk away. Splitting the difference is a lazy, misguided way of negotiating.

5. Getting to ‘no’

Forget about getting to ‘yes’ because you can very easily get to a false ‘yes’ which will not be delivered upon; you are better off getting to ‘no’ from the other side as you will have a better idea of their true position.

6. Deadlines can be an ally

You can make time your ally by recognising that even if a deadline is missed a new one can easily be introduced. Don’t rush into a bad decision, though, just to meet a deadline-let the other side worry about the deadline.

7. Stay calm

Keep your emotions in check, adopt the approach that ‘it’s just business’ and there is no need to lose the head or get carried away.

8. Most important word in negotiations

The most important word in negotiations is ‘fair’. If you tell the other side you only want what’s fair or want a fair deal you are more likely to get a deal.

9. Don’t ask ‘why’

Ask how or what questions, not ‘why’ questions. For example, ‘how am I supposed to do that?’, ‘how am I supposed to pay that much?’ Such ‘how’ questions will encourage the other party to bid against themselves and try to find a solution to your problem.

10. Arrive at a precise, specific final offer

Make whatever offer you like-something between 60% and 80% of what you are eventually prepared to pay-and increase this by reducing increments to arrive at a final specific, odd number-never an even number.

This gives the other party the impression that this is your true final offer and you have thrown everything at it to do a deal. Offer an even figure and the other party will not accept you are at your limit.


Negotiation is not an art that you cannot learn, or which is only something that you can do naturally and you are a born haggler. Far from it. There is a science to negotiating, too, and following the 10 tips above will help you getter better deals. Over time you will get better and better at it.

Good luck!

Property Law

Buying a House or Apartment in Ireland-From Start to Finish in Plain English

Are you thinking about buying a house or apartment in near future? Are you wondering what is involved in the process?

That is precisely what I am going to look at in this piece, and I am going to explain it in plain English.


The first step is to find the right property for you and your particular circumstances. I have looked before at some of the factors you may consider as being the most important for you. (You can read 7 tips to simplify your house purchase here).

Once you have found the property you want and fits in your budget you will need to let the auctioneer and the lender know who your solicitor is. This will allow the auctioneer send out the sales advice note to both solicitors which will set out the basic terms of the transaction. These basic terms will include the price, the vendor and purchaser, any contents, expected closing date, and the solicitors acting for the vendor and purchaser. (When you are negotiating these negotiation tips have served me well over the years).

You will be expected to pay a booking deposit to the auctioneer which will secure the property. This deposit is refundable and is not to be confused with the contract deposit. (You can read about the difference between booking deposits and contract deposits here).

Before paying your booking deposit you should also consider the overall financing of the transaction and ensure you consider certain outlays such as stamp duty and property registration authority fees. (Read about all the costs and outlays involved in your purchase here).

Once the sales advice note is issued by the auctioneer the vendor’s solicitor will draw up a contract and prepare the copy title documents which will be sent to your solicitor for his review and consideration.

Your solicitor will then raise pre-contract enquiries about any issues which arise such as planning permission, building regulations, local property tax, sewerage, water supply, road abutting the property being in charge, and other issues.

It is only when your solicitor has received satisfactory replies to these enquiries that you will be asked to sign the contract and pay the balance of the deposit, assuming you have finance in place and not just approval in principle.

This balance of the deposit will be 10% of the purchase price less any booking deposit you have paid.

For example, let’s say you are buying a house for €250,000. 10% of the purchase price is €25,000 so this is the contract deposit. You subtract whatever booking deposit you paid to the auctioneer (usually €5/6,000) and this is the sum due on signing the contract.

Meanwhile, prior to this point, you should have ensured that the loan offer is issued by your lender and a loan pack goes to your solicitor.

You would also be well advised to have a structural survey of the property carried out because there is no use finding problems with the property after you have signed the contract. If it is a second hand house you buy it in the condition you find it- ‘caveat emptor’ (let the buyer beware). So it is vital to ascertain what condition the house is actually in. (Here’s why a structural survey is essential before you sign the contract).

Once you sign the contracts in duplicate and your solicitor returns them to the vendor’s solicitor a binding contract will come into existence when the vendor signs the contracts and returns one part to your solicitor.

At that point you move towards completion of the transaction. This will mainly involve you checking that the lender has everything they need to allow them to release the loan cheque to your solicitor for completion of the sale. Things that hold up cheque release include failure to ensure that life assurance is in place and the benefit is assigned to the lender, failure to put home insurance in place, failure to submit a completed direct debit mandate.

As closing date approaches, your solicitor will draw down the loan from the lender, ask you for your financial contribution which will include the balance of the purchase price and outlays such as stamp duty, property registration authority fees, and other outlays. The solicitor will probably leave loan drawdown as late as possible because you are paying interest from the date of drawdown and he will be anxious to ensure you do not pay unnecessary interest on your loan.

On closing day you get the keys of your new house and your solicitor transfers the purchase price to the vendor’s solicitor and authorises release of those funds, provided you are authorised to pick up the keys from the estate agent.(Read about what happens on closing day here).

After the sale completes your solicitor will submit the Deed of Transfer, the Mortgage Deed and some other forms to the Property Registration Authority to have you registered as the new owner of the folio and to register the bank’s security.

Once that is completed your solicitor will send in the title documents together with his Certificate of Title to the lender and you start paying off the mortgage and enjoying your new property. Obviously if there is no lender involved and you are a cash buyer you will may get the title documents from your solicitor or leave them with her for safekeeping.

By the way, if you are buying in Ireland from abroad you will need to get a PPS number in order to pay your stamp duty and account for any letting income. (You can read about buying property in Ireland from abroad here).