Irish Property Market Pulse – Issue #76

Understanding the Law of the Land

With the busyness of Christmas behind us for another year, this is a great time to catch up on all the important industry news and regulatory changes that you have been hearing about over the past few months.  We understand that it can be difficult for busy people to stay on top of all these changes so we have put together the most important things you need to be aware of going into 2019. Please do keep in mind that this is not legal advice, but rather a snapshot of changes in the conveyancing process in Ireland.

All seasoned property developers and investors know the power and importance of having a truly expert team – it is something the Lotus IG team talk about quite a lot –  and a great conveyancing solicitor is an integral part of your property investing or development team.

To start with, it helps to understand that property law in Ireland is based on both legislation and common law. This means that while we occasionally refer back to laws that predate the State (i.e. laws that were in place prior to 1922), our transactions/transfers are primarily subject to the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act, 2009. And, quite separately, registration of title is governed by the Registration of Deeds and Title Act, 2006 (which replaced the1964 Registration of Title Act and the Succession Act, 1965).

Having a basis in common law makes [some] Irish judgments subject to precedents set in other common law jurisdictions, such as the UK, and this has caused massive confusion in past property disputes, particularly in the early days of the crash.

One important point to clarify in the context of Brexit is that Ireland has no legal restrictions on the ownership of land or property by a non-resident. All buyers, resident or non-resident, are subject to relatively recent anti-money laundering legislation that requires certain checks be carried out to confirm the identity of the intending buyer and the source of funding being presented.

All title must be registered with The Property Registration Authority, or PRA, which is an amalgamation of the old Land Registry and Registry of Deeds, and this title is then guaranteed by the State.

From January 1st, 2019, all conveyancing in Ireland will move to a system of pre-contract investigation of title. This simply means that the supporting title documentation will be made available to intending buyers at an earlier stage so they/their solicitor can  examine and raise ‘requisitions’ or queries about the title before contract stage. This move is designed to speed up the conveyancing process and eliminate/reduce delays associated with private treaty sales.

If you are planning to buy or sell property in 2019, it is advisable to discuss these recent changes with your solicitor in advance of entering  into any agreement.

Ian Lawlor
086 3625482

Director / Business Development
Lotus Investment Group