Advice Centre Articles — Ownersʼ Management Companies

If you buy a property in a multi-unit development, an Owners’ Management Company (OMC) legally owns the common areas and is responsible for their upkeep. It is important that you know how OMCs work and get involved in the running of the company so you can help it to work well for everyone’s benefit, including your own.

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How can I get the drains and road on my estate checked?

I live on a 20-house estate where the roads and drains are privately owned and we manage things through a service charge, and that all works well. The estate is 15 years old and there is no wish to have the council or other bodies manage our estate. I wonder whether we should be having our drains checked with a camera just to make sure that all is well and to have some understanding of problems that may arise and their likely cost.

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Why should I pay for lift maintenance when I don’t use it?

I own a house in a private mixed development which consists of apartment blocks (which have lifts), private houses and duplex flats (do not have lifts). The management company has a sinking fund that each unit pays into. It appears that the sinking fund has been spent on lift maintenance. Can sinking funds be used for maintenance that is not of an emergency nature? Also I pay my service charge, but am I legally obliged to pay into a sinking fund?

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Fees for management of communal areas

A recent question mentioned that directors of self-managed apartment blocks are not entitled to remuneration. Does this also apply to management companies for common areas, where all the properties are free standing on their own site and the common areas such as parking, green areas and flower beds are owned by the company? Where can I review the relevant legislation or ministerial order? 

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Untangling apartment building management

I am in the process of retiring and recently viewed an apartment. I tried to investigate the finances and the management company, the registered office is at one of the buildings in the complex. A resident advised me that there is no managing agent, as the complex is self-managed by one owner who is also a director and a company secretary. The auditor is the personal accountant of this owner and does not have to be licensed by the PSRA as the complex is deemed to be self-managed. I would appreciate any advice.

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Can a developer build on common land?

I live in a small apartment complex where the common areas have not yet been transferred to the owners’ management company. Six months ago the developer applied for planning permission to build large houses on adjacent land and build ancillary parts for the houses on the apartment’s common areas. The council did not consider the ownership of the common areas at all and the matter is now in appeal with An Bord Pleanála. Is there anything an OMC can do to prevent a developer from building on areas they actually do not own?

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NPPR Tax Slip-up

The local council has contacted me to say that, because I have not paid the NPPR liability in time, I now have to back pay this with a fine. I would have expected my property management company to flag these property related liabilities with me or is this usually outside their remit?

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Management Issue

Recently our owner management company(OMC) dismantled a wall which had a slight crack without the consent of the residents of the apartment block. It said the wall was unsafe, posed a threat to human life and had to be removed. It has now furnished us with a price for rebuilding the wall. My questions are: were they entitled to dismantle the wall without our prior consent and is it right that we are being asked to cover the cost of rebuilding the wall? 

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I was notified by management of an increase in management fees

I recently acquired a mortgage and bought an apartment in Dublin. After buying this apartment I received an estimate letter from the management company which stated that from the end of February 2014 to December 2014 the approximate fee was €920. Recently I received another invoice from the management company which stated that the fee was now €1,300. What should I do?