CITY centre landlords are on the brink of revolt against demands for thousands of euro in rates for empty premises which they are unable to let. An angry city centre property owner, who is being charged €1,000 a month for his vacant shop, contacted the Limerick Post this week to urge hard-pressed property owners to come together in opposition to the charges. “I haven’t had anyone in my property for two years and I have no hope of letting it. The only enquiry I had was from someone who wanted to set up a sex shop.
“The footfall in the centre of the city has collapsed,” the owner – who did not want to be identified – said.
The gentleman contacted the Limerick Post on foot of a report carried recently calling for the inequitable situation between city and county rate demands to be rectified.
Because of differences in legislation, the city council charges half of the rates when a premises is empty but county property owners don’t have to pay anything unless their property is let.
“There are at least 75 vacant properties in the centre of the city and traders are moving out to the Crescent, even though the rents are higher and they have to pay for other services there.
Meanwhile, we’re getting demands for rates and water rates. I have a water rates bill for my premises where there hasn’t even been a toilet flushed in two years”.
The property owner said that what is needed is for city centre landlords to come together and organise professional help to fight the charges.
A spokesperson for the city council said that under the regulations, they are obliged to send demands for rates payments. “The regulations state that a property owner is supposed to pay their full rates for the year and then claim half back if the property is empty. But there are so many people in difficulty that we are willing to accept the 50 per cent payment up front”.