is situated in the Atlantic Ocean and separated from Great Britain by
the Irish Sea. It occupies the entire island except for the six counties
that make up Northern Ireland and remain as an integral part of the UK.
Ireland resembles a basin, a central plain rimmed with mountains, except
in the Dublin region. The mountains are low, with the highest peak,
Carrantuohill in County Kerry, rising to 3,415 ft (1,041 m). The
principal river is the
Shannon, which begins in the north-central area,
flows south and southwest for about 240 mi (386 km), and empties into
Ireland in the EU. Includes Irish Government sites and Tourist
Before leaving to
come to Ireland, make sure you understand your legal situation.
Depending on your nationality, you might need a visa, residence permit
and/or work permit. Non-Irish
citizens (known officially as Ďaliensí) arriving from EEA countries are
free to enter Ireland; there are nevertheless certain formalities which
must be observed. If you arrive in
Ireland from the UK, youíre exempt
from immigration control at the port of entry into
Ireland, but you may
not stay longer than one month without obtaining permission to remain.
If youíre a non-EU national and arrive in
Ireland from outside the EU,
you must go through immigration for non-EU citizens. Non-EU citizens are
required to complete immigration registration cards, which are provided
on aircraft and ferries (e.g. from France) in order to be granted leave
to land. Some people may wish to get a stamp in their passport as
confirmation of their date of entry.
Britons make up the largest expatriate community in
Ireland with a large
American community in Dublin.
Capital Gains Tax is charged at 20% which excludes your main residence.
There are no restrictions on Foreign Ownership.
Fees are considerably lower on new properties than for resale
properties, on which stamp duty must be paid. The fees payable when
buying a property in Ireland include some or all of the following:
stamp duty (except for first-time buyers and new properties);
deed registration fee;
survey or valuation fee;
ground rent (leasehold properties only);
management fee (apartments only);
VAT (certain commercial properties only);
utility connection fees (new properties only);
selling agentís fees (normally Ďincludedí in the property price);
mortgage costs, e.g. application fee, mortgage indemnity fee (on loans
above a certain percentage of the purchase price), and life assurance or
a mortgage protection policy.
Always ensure you know exactly what the total fees will be before
signing a contract.
Stamp duty is the main fee involved when buying a home in
the tax on the purchase deed payable by the buyer when the sale is
closed. The rates and criteria for stamp duty were changed in April 1988
and again in June 2000. New houses and apartments with a floor area of
less than 125m2 are still exempt from stamp duty. However, the duty will
usually become payable if a property is let within five years of the
date of purchase, which means that, if you purchase a new property as a
holiday home with the intention of letting it for the rest of the year,
youíll no longer avoid paying stamp duty.
In the case of new houses or apartments of 125m2 or more, the stamp duty
is calculated on the basis of the site value or 25 per cent of the
combined value of the site and the building, whichever is greater. In
the case of resale properties, stamp duty is payable on the full value
of the site and building.
There are now three scales of
stamp duty rates on residential property,
for first-time buyers, owner occupiers (i.e. those living in the
property, other than first-time buyers) and investors (i.e. those
purchasing a property other than their home for letting purposes).
As well as having to pay 9 per cent stamp duty on all property
purchases, investors are liable to a new tax introduced in June 2000,
called an anti speculative property tax. This is a 2 per cent levy on
the value of the property payable for the first three years after
purchase (purchases after 2002 will be exempt from this tax).
stamp duty and anti speculative property tax are paid to the
Revenue Commissioners, but, whereas
stamp duty is paid at the time of
purchase, property tax is due at the same time as your income tax. This
means that itís up to you to declare it on your annual tax return.
Note that the cost of any fixtures and fittings (e.g. carpets and
curtains) included in a purchase is taken into account when determining
the stamp duty Ďbandí. You need to ensure that you buy the fixtures and
There is a 50 per cent stamp duty relief on conveyances between certain
classes of blood relative. Transfers between parents and children of
land (up to a value) on which the children are to build their principal
residence are exempt from stamp duty.
Since the Competition Act, 1994,
solicitorsí fees for conveyance are no
longer subject to a fixed scale of charges and you must agree to them in
writing in advance. Under section 68 of the Act, a solicitor is bound to
notify a client in writing of the fee to be charged for a particular
transaction or of the basis on which the fee will be calculated. The
actual amount depends upon the work involved, although according to the
Incorporated Law Society of Ireland you should expect to pay between 1
and 1.5 per cent of the property price.
Irish solicitors will not usually agree to undertake only part of the
conveyance, such as checking the sales contract. Although
solicitor and paying his/her legal fees is optional, it is highly
recommended. Legal fees are always exclusive of disbursements and are
subject to VAT at 20 per cent. Fees are usually paid on completion but
before registration (see below). Registration can take a year for a new
house and even longer for a very old, unregistered property. If there
are problems with registration, you may be liable for additional
Your solicitor will pass on to you the charges relating to registration
of the title deed to a property. There are two kinds of title in
Ireland: registered and unregistered.
This was introduced by the local Registration of Title (Ireland) Act,
1891 and means that a record of the land is kept with the land registry.
Registration, which is compulsory in all counties of Ireland, provides
proof of ownership. When a property is sold, a Deed of Transfer is
lodged with the land registry, and the Registrar simply deletes the
vendorís name and substitutes the buyerís. The land registry recently
went onto the Internet, so itís now possible to check ownership and
other property details from the comfort of your computer terminal,
although it is still wise to use a qualified solicitor).
Title documents must be inspected by your solicitor to establish
ownership. Copies of these documents are lodged with the registry of
deeds in accordance with the Registration of Deeds Act, 1707 in case
there is a conflict of interest, such as if two people try to take out a
mortgage on the same piece of land simultaneously.
A deed of conveyance is used to transfer freehold unregistered land, a
deed of assignment for leasehold unregistered land. There is roughly an
equal amount of registered and unregistered land in Ireland, although
land in rural areas is more likely to be registered.
In addition, you will be charged for land registry searches,
commissionersí fees, and a copy folio and map. In the case of
registration with the registry of deeds, the fees will include searches,
commissionersí fees, and memorials (copies) of the purchase deed and
Survey and/or Valuation Fee:
If you employ a surveyor to inspect a building or plot of land before
you offer to buy it (which is strongly advised), the fee will depend on
the kind of survey, any special requirements and the value of the
property. Some lenders make a fixed charge on a sliding scale according
to the value of the property. The valuerís travelling expenses are
usually added to the bill. If the mortgage is refused, the valuation
fee is refunded.
The cost of a full structural survey is generally added to the valuation
report fee but, if you use the same firm for both, you may be able to
negotiate a reduced rate. Note that your mortgage lender may insist on a
structural report if a property is over 100 years old.
Title may be freehold, where the property is theoretically held forever
free of rent, or leasehold, where itís held for anything from 250 to
9,999 years. In the case of leasehold property, itís normal for a
nominal ground rent to be paid to a superior title holder, i.e.
landlord. There are even cases where the property is leased rent free.
If you are buying an apartment, you will usually become liable for
annual management fees. Each apartment owner automatically becomes a
member of the management company responsible for the insurance and
upkeep of the common elements of the property, e.g. grounds, entrances,
hallways, lifts and stairs. To cover the costs involved thereís usually
a fund to which each owner must contribute. The amount payable depends
on a number of factors such as the extent of the grounds and the age and
condition of the property.
Under the Finance Act, 1997, VAT must be included in the price of new
properties and doesnít apply to resale properties. However, commercial
property transactions may be subject to VAT at 12.5 per cent, unless the
property was developed before 31st October 1972 and hasnít been
extended, altered or adapted since. The rules regarding VAT on property
are complicated and you should take expert advice before completing any
commercial property transactions, particularly as there can be serious
implications if you make a mistake.
Utility Connection Fees:
If you buy a new property, you may need to pay for connection to
electricity, gas and mains water supplies, as well as for the
installation of meters. Your builder will usually provide electricity
and gas connections and meters, and the cost of these should be included
in your quotation. Provided that a property is within 15 metres of a gas
main, there should be no charge for connection.
In the case of electricity thereís a fixed connection charge (plus VAT
at 12.5 per cent) if the property is within a certain distance from the
medium voltage network. If the property is further than the specified
distance from the network, an additional charge will be made according
to the work necessary and in some cases thereís an extra charge even if
the property is within the specified distance.
You must usually arrange your own water main connection, which can be
expensive. Connection charges vary considerably from county to county.
You should make enquiries at your local city, county or borough council
so that you know how much to budget for.
Estate Agentís Fees:
Estate agentsí fees are usually paid by the vendor. They are, however,
usually allowed for in the asking price, so in effect are paid by the
buyer. As a buyer youíd be responsible for a separate fee only if you
retained an auctioneer to purchase a property on your behalf, in which
case you should agree a fee in advance and confirm it in writing. The
auctioneerís fee can vary between 1 and 3.5 per cent of the selling
price, depending on the cost of the property and the type of contract,
but itís usually around 2.5 per cent and is subject to VAT (at 20 per
Mortgage Application Fee:
Most banks and building societies charge a mortgage application fee when
they grant a mortgage. When looking around for a mortgage, however, you
should ask if the lender is prepared to waive the fee? With increasing
competition for mortgages, many lenders will agree to do so. Note that
lenders should not ask you to pay any legal costs as they usually use
your solicitor for their legal work. Check this with them before
confirming your mortgage.
Mortgage Indemnity Fee:
If you borrow more than 70 or 80 per cent, then depending on the lender,
you must pay a mortgage indemnity fee (also called a mortgage indemnity
bond) of around 3 per cent of the difference between the specified
percentage of the purchase price and the amount borrowed, plus a 2 per
cent government levy. Some lenders spread the cost of the indemnity over
the term of the mortgage, while others donít charge an indemnity fee but
charge a higher rate of interest for loans above 80 per cent. If you are
buying a property as an investment, the indemnity fee is 4 per cent.
Mortgage Protection Policy: You will need to obtain life assurance
before your lender will agree to advance your mortgage. A mortgage
protection policy is usually the minimum cover required.
Annual and Running Costs:
In addition to the fees associated with buying a property, you should
take into account the annual and running costs. These include management
fees (for apartments), garden maintenance (if applicable), and building
and contents insurance. There are no local authority charges, Ďratesí or
Ďpoll taxesí for residential property in Ireland, but you will incur
standing charges for utilities (electricity, gas and telephone). Water
is free (unless you run a business from home) and the cost of refuse
collection varies. In a few places, however, the local authority charges
more for larger properties. If you are letting a property, you should
also allow for property management fees, income tax on rental income and
possibly an accountants fee.
Unlike most other European countries, there is not a strong rental
market in Ireland, where families have traditionally preferred to buy
rather than rent. There is a chronic shortage of rental properties in
some areas, particularly in Dublin, and rental properties with three or
more bedrooms located in good areas are in short supply. In Dublin,
queues of prospective tenants are commonplace.
Demand for rented accommodation continues to be high and there are
signs that investors are being attracted back into the rental market by
the prospect of low interest rates.
Most rental properties, whether long or short-term, are let furnished
and long term unfurnished properties are particularly difficult to find.
The standards of rented accommodation in Ireland are generally good. The
Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 1993 specify certain
minimum requirements regarding structural condition, the provision of
sinks, toilets, baths/showers, cooking and food storage facilities, the
safety of electrical and gas installations, the adequacy of heating,
lighting and ventilation, and the maintenance of communal areas.
Vendors, a Quick sale of your property