Purchase of Domestic Ground Rent

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Please note that the information contained here is of necessity somewhat condensed. If you have any queries that require more detailed information then please contact the relevant section at the number shown.

There are two types of property ownership that relate to houses sold by Dublin City Council through the various Tenant Purchase Schemes (Sales Schemes) it has operated over the years:

Leasehold Ownership - Houses sold before May 1978

If you purchased your home before May 1978 you became the owner of what is known as the leasehold interest. This meant that you did not own, or 'hold full title to', the property but only owned the house and not the land it stood on.

You were required to pay an annual ground rent to the City Council as they still owned the land. The amount of ground rent to be paid varied with the charge in most cases being €0.06 (£0.05). In certain cases ownership was by way of a lease for a fixed number of years. The term of these leases was commonly 99 or 150 years and the annual charge was generally higher.

Freehold Ownership - Houses sold after May 1978

If you purchased your home after May 1978 you became the owner of what is known as the freehold interest. This meant that you owned, or 'held title to', the property in its entirety. You owned both the house and the land it stood on. There was no Ground Rent payable.

How can I find out if my property is Freehold or Leasehold?

The ownership and other details of the great majority of houses sold are registered in the Land Registry with the remainder being registered in the Registry of Deeds. You can check for details of ground rent on what is known as the 'Folio' if the property is registered in the Land Registry or on the previous deeds if it is registered in the Registry of Deeds. Both systems are administered by the Property Registration Authority. See www.landregistry.ie or Tel. 670 7500 or LoCall 1890 333 001.

How could this affect me?

When you purchase your home through a Sales Scheme the consent of the Council is needed if you decide to sell, re-mortgage or transfer your interest in the property. This consent is a legal requirement under the terms of the scheme and is only granted when certain conditions have been met.  Consent is required only for the first sale, re-mortgage or transfer of interest in a property.

The requirement for consent is for a fixed number of years only from the date of purchase.

For houses sold since 1992 it ends after 20 years and for houses sold prior to 1992 it ends after 25 years.

In the case of houses sold before May 1978 consent would normally no longer be needed after 25 years (May 2003 at the latest) but if the Ground Rent has not been bought out the Council continues to have an interest in the property and consent is still required regardless of the original date of purchase.

Why should I buy out my ground Rent?

If you purchased your home before 1978 on a leasehold basis it is not necessary to buy out the Ground Rent before you can sell, re-mortgage or transfer your interest in the property.

You only need the consent of the Council to do so. There is considerable advantage in buying it out however as you will then own the freehold, hold full title and be free from the requirement for consent. This could save you considerable time, inconvenience and possible expense especially if you decide to sell as potential buyers generally tend to find freehold properties a more attractive purchase option.

For the same reasons, if you are the owner of a property originally purchased from the Council and subsequently sold on to you and where the title is still held on a leasehold basis you should also consider buying out the Ground Rent. 
Please note that some domestic ground rents are managed by our Property Management Section  and dealt with under a separate purchase scheme.

How do I buy out the ground rent?

To begin this process you must complete an 'Application For The Purchase Of The Fee Simple Interest' form. Fee Simple is a legal term that refers to full ownership of a property.  By buying out the Ground Rent you then own the Fee Simple interest meaning you have full ownership of both the house and the land on which it stands.

How much will it cost?

There is no set cost. The purchase price of the Fee Simple interest is generally based on a multiple of the annual ground rent charge plus any arrears due.
This multiple varies on a monthly basis. There may also be stamp duty payable. The actual amount to be charged depends on the nature of the terms and conditions contained in the original Transfer Order. In addition there is a Land Registry Fee of €135.00 and a Dublin City Council administration fee of €30.39 payable.

What happens after I have bought out the ground rent?

When the sale of the Fee Simple interest has been completed by the Council’s Law Department a 'Transfer Order' will then be issued by the Land Registry transferring ownership of the Fee Simple interest in the property to you. The property record will be then be updated in the Land Registry or Registry of Deeds to show that your ownership is no longer leasehold but is instead freehold.

For more information

For further information please contact:
Ground Rents
Rents & Tenant Purchase Section
Block 1 Floor 1
Civic Offices
Wood Quay
Dublin 8
Telephone 222 3846

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