Multi-Unit Developments Bill 2009 [Seanad]: Report and Final Stages

Before we begin, I wish to bring to the attention of Members two errors in the printed list of amendments. Amendment No. 88 should list an t-Aire Dlí agus Cirt as the sponsor. In amendment No. 120, the asterisk that appears beside the figure 18 in the text of item 7 is an error. The asterisk should only appear beside the figure 18 in the text of item six. This correction will not affect the meaning of the amendment.

Amendments Nos. 1, 2, 14, 15, 19, 26, 32, 35, 45, 47, 48 and 113 are related and will be discussed together.

I move amendment No. 1:

In page 4, between lines 13 and 14, to insert the following:

""complete" in relation to a development means complete to the agreed satisfaction of the developer and the owners' management company and the planning authority;".

I do not intend to take up the time of the House on this. We discussed it on Committee Stage and unfortunately, we do not have the time on Report Stage that this Bill deserves. It is important that the Bill is concluded because there are many people out there who need the protection that comes from the regulation of management companies.

Amendment No. 1 requires that a development would be completed to the satisfaction of the developer and the management company. All Members know that this business of unfinished developments and estates has pockmarked the lives of so many communities over the years. It is a torture for residents and it is important that the Minister addresses it. It is also important in the context of the Law Reform Commission recommendation that the management company would sequester 5% of the price of the purchase until such time as the development is finished. The Law Reform Commission set out its reasoning behind that. I am surprised that the Minister was not sure about whether he would take that on board on Committee Stage. It is not a proposal coming from the Labour Party or from Fine Gael. It is a proposal supported by both parties that is coming from the Law Reform Commission. I would have thought that the Minister would be minded to take that on board.

I am not minded to give the Minister a long lecture tonight about the sacrosanct links between his party and builders, but he has to advance an explanation as to why he has taken so much of the Law Reform Commission report on board, but not this particular recommendation. From experience in my own constituency and speaking to colleagues from across the House, this business of unfinished developments is a huge problem and we have an opportunity here to deal with it.

I agree with Deputy Rabbitte that it is important to pass this Bill, and I accept that time is short. Given that we are coming up to Christmas and that there is a short term after that, it is important to pass it. Most of the amendments go to the very heart of the legislation we are dealing with, which is how best to ensure satisfactory completion of the common areas of multi-unit developments. Obviously, there are differing views on the issue of completion, and whether this Bill can reasonably deal with the issue of ultimate completion and snagging of multi-unit developments is a moot point.

In amendment No. 1, Deputy Rabbitte seeks to involve the planning authority in the process of ensuring satisfactory completion of the common areas. In Nos. 2 and 35, Deputy Stanton proposes a similar solution involving the planning authority and its inspectors. However, the planning authority can have no role here because the planning code does not deal with completion issues. The planning Acts would have to be changed if the planning authorities were to be given such a role. In amendments Nos. 18 and 19, Deputies Rabbitte and Stanton propose the retention of 5% of the purchase price pending completion of the development. This is, in a superficial way, an attractive idea, and was, as Deputy Rabbitte said, advocated by the Law Reform Commission in its report. However, the Law Reform Commission was pretty silent about how this could be dealt with. My Department has discussed this proposal with various stakeholders and, while there is some support for the idea, there is also great concern that such a retention would lead to unnecessary disputes and disagreements between developers and owner management companies, OMCs. I have considered this closely because I undertook to do this on Committee Stage in order to try to accommodate Deputies' concerns.

Deputy Rabbitte has tabled two further amendments with regard to completion. No. 47 sets out an excessively detailed and complex procedure concerning completion. I believe the provisions in sections 3, 4, 5, 11, 12 and 21 deal adequately with the issues raised in this amendment and, for that reason, I cannot accept No. 47. With regard to amendment No. 48, which was also tabled by Deputy Rabbitte, I am not aware of any provision under the Planning and Development Acts or the Building Control Acts which would permit planning authorities to require performance bonds in order to ensure snagging of multi-unit developments. The proposal in subsection (3) of the amendment is a matter which would need to be considered by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government in conjunction with the planning authorities in the context of future reform of these codes.

As I explained at the select committee, I fully recognise that difficulties arise in ensuring completion. I have already amended the Bill by providing that, in future, there must be a contract between the developer and the OMC which will contain particulars of arrangements relating to compliance with statutory requirements and the completion of common areas. I have also provided that the OMC will have independent legal advice at the expense of the developer. I am now tabling a further amendment, No. 16, to complement these earlier changes, which were made in response to representations from the Opposition. This amendment has two elements. First, it acknowledges that the contract between the developer and the OMC may make provision for retention of moneys pending completion of the common areas. This will not be mandatory, but where the contract provides for retention of moneys, it must also provide for a mechanism to release such funds. Second, the contract must contain details of a process for resolving any disputes between the parties about completion of the development. This could take the form of expert determination, arbitration or other forms of alternative dispute resolution. The objective is to avoid recourse, if at all possible, to the courts.

Amendment No. 15 is a technical amendment linked to No. 16. Section 5, which deals with multi-unit developments that have been substantially completed, requires that the developer transfer the common areas to the OMC without retention of any beneficial interest. The question of the point at which the development is substantially completed has arisen and, in order to provide certainty about this, I am tabling amendment No. 32, which provides that the development is regarded as substantially completed when the sale of 80% of the residential units has been completed.

With regard to amendment No. 17, tabled by Deputy Rabbitte, this matter has already been addressed by the insertion of section 8(3), which requires that a unit owner must provide contact details to the OMC. Deputy Rabbitte has also tabled amendment No. 45, which seeks to delete section 3(11). This subsection explains what is meant by unreasonable withholding of consent, which is referred to in subsection (2). It has been included in order to safeguard the interests of mortgagees, and consequently, I am not able to accept this amendment.

Finally, I come to the amendments dealing with fire safety in multi-unit developments, which is an important matter that must be addressed. In amendment No. 113, Deputy Stanton proposes that prior to occupation of a development, a fire officer must inspect the building and confirm that it is compliant with fire safety standards. I agree with the thrust of this amendment. In amendment No. 14, I am proposing that, in future, a developer must provide the OMC with certification of compliance with the requirements of the fire safety certificate issued by the building control authority in advance of the construction of the development. The certificate must cover the common areas being transferred to the OMC and must be supplied to the OMC prior to the sale of the first residential unit. I intend to make regulations, as provided for in amendment No. 26, specifying the categories of suitably qualified persons who may certify such compliance following consultation with the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

I apologise for the length of this intervention, but these amendments go to the core of two important issues in this Bill. I acknowledge the concerns underpinning the amendments that have been tabled by Deputies Rabbitte and Stanton, but I believe the amendments I have tabled, taken together with earlier amendments, will address their concerns in a manner much more in keeping with the structure and content of this Bill.

I appreciate the Minister's taking time to put the rationale for his case on the record of the House, and I accept that this is a reforming Bill which will greatly improve the living circumstances of many tens of thousands of people. However, it is a great pity to spoil the ship for a hap'orth of tar, which is what we are doing here. I accept that amendment No. 16, for example, goes some way towards addressing some of my concerns, but, as he pointed out himself, the process is not mandatory. It is a milk-and-water gesture towards the recommendations of the Law Reform Commission.

For some reason, this House cannot bring itself to legislate for builders to complete their work properly. There are many good builders in Ireland, some of whom do very good work and so on and so forth, but there is a cultural inhibition about requiring that their work be completed to an acceptable standard. If there was a requirement in Irish law that builders could not be given planning permission for new developments until they had finished the previous ones to a proper standard, we would not have the kind of problems we have, but for some reason we are reluctant to do this.

If we consider the glut of legislation in the Department of Justice and Law Reform alone — whether the areas of justice and law reform should ever have been brought back together is an open question — we can see that this Bill will not be revisited lightly. This is our opportunity to deal with these issues. The notion of a bond is a good one. If a small percentage of the purchase price was allocated to the OMC and there was a system of arbitration to determine what constituted completion to standard, that would result in an immense improvement. All of the disputes envisaged by the Minister are not likely to happen. These are not the problems we have. This new type of housing, which has taken off in Ireland in the last ten years, sometimes works very well. People also pay a healthy tariff for those that work well.

However, some of them do not work so well and it is possible to look down the road a little and to acknowledge and foresee the problems that will arise, especially in some of the blocks in urban areas. Were the amendment to be accepted by the Minister it would make a contribution to provide against that in future.

I have sympathy for the point Deputy Rabbitte made with regard to the retention and I have considered the matter carefully. However, all the advice I have received is that it could be the source of considerable dispute as to what is or is not "completion". The fact is that the planning and building control laws do not provide any guidance with regard to issues such as snagging. Ultimately, such issues can be the cause of disputes between developers and purchasers even in the case of single purchases.

I have tried to provide avia media, that is, an opportunity for the two parties to agree that there would be a retention but not to make it a statutory requirement. Purchasers can look at developments in future and decide whether they seek a development with or without a retention. The problem is that a significant amount of money could be retained over an entire development and the whole question of the release of that money is not properly dealt with, even in the amendments proposed by Deputy Rabbitte. I believe our amendment is better since it allows for the provision of this eventuality in the event of the parties being of such a mind. As a result of discussions on Second and Committee Stages we have provided measures, including the mandatory requirement for a contract to be available and for the legal advice of the owner management company to be paid for by the developer. This is a significant safeguard for the purchasers and the owner management companies.

I agree with several of the remarks of Deputy Pat Rabbitte. In my time in public life many developments have been subject to a lack of clarity, that is to say, a lack of something the consumer or purchaser could rely on and be assured that he or she entered into a contract with the end in sight. Such an arrangement would ensure he or she was provided for and some means existed to ensure that there would be no long drawn-out efforts on the part of local authorities dealing directly with the management company or with the developer. In some cases the developer may have left the scene; this has taken place in many cases recently. There are a significant number of developments throughout the country at present where the developer is no longer functioning on the scene. In some cases, the management company originally set up has disappeared or has malfunctioned because either the development has not been completed in accordance with the planning permission conditions or because of the economic conditions which prevail. It would have been far better if some assurance could have been given at the outset such that when each party to the contract, that is, the buyer and the seller, entered into that contract, he or she knew where the end would be.

The Minister and Deputy Rabbitte referred to snags. Snags are being dealt with for three, four, five or ten years in some cases. Recently, I was in an estate where there is ten years of snagging. I read a letter written by the local authority to the developer, the likes of which I have never read before. It is a crazy situation. The unfortunate residents in such situations are stuck and they wonder how they arrived at that position.

Some 25 or 35 years ago it was possible for a local authority to challenge a developer seeking further or subsequent planning permission in cases where that developer had not completed the current development. It was possible for the local authority to refuse planning permission because the developer had not proved in a satisfactory fashion that he or she was a capable person. What happened then? Someone went to court and, sadly, the courts changed the position. That is case law. I put it to the Minister there is a serious need for an assurance to protect the purchaser. Sadly, many purchasers have been let down through a variety of circumstances, some of which are of their own making but some of which are not.

I welcome the Minister's two amendments in the area of fire safety, an area which requires and should receive due attention. At present, the system of fire certificates is such that they are awarded by local authorities based on drawings. No physical inspection takes place to ensure the complex is completed and constructed in accordance with the drawings. Some developers have submitted perfect drawings but the actual construction of the corresponding apartment complex has not been in accordance with these drawings. This is the nub of the problem. One such complex is in my constituency and in this case Dublin City Council has removed its tenants but the tenants in privately owned dwellings remain in an unsafe and unfit building. Their lives are at risk and this has been ongoing for the best part of two years. It is most unsatisfactory. Will the Minister advise on who would be a suitably qualified person to issue a fire certificate? Will there be a change in the current procedure? Will there be a physical inspection of the complexes to ensure they are constructed in accordance with the drawings and that there is no question of light touch regulation?

I fully support the amendments tabled by Deputy Stanton. Deputy Rabbitte referred to the issue of completion of a development. The nub of the problem is where a complex has not been completed and the developer has moved on to the next project without addressing adequately the first complex. The issue of the bond and the 5% retention is remarkably relevant in this regard. The matter was raised previously by the Law Reform Commission and it provided an excellent suggestion. It is a pity it cannot be enshrined in the legislation. The local authority should take more of a role to ensure that a development is constructed in accordance with the planning permission it has granted. That should somehow be included in the legislation.

With the indulgence of the House I will allow the Minister in for a moment. Although it is strictly not allowed, his intervention may be welcome.

I may end up simply repeating myself, save to say that I have sympathy with regard to the retention issue. However a problem arises in the case of an apartment block with many units. If a retention of 5% were allowed, vast figures could be retained by the owner management company. For example, if there were a retention such that the entire amount retained by the owner management company was €500,000 or €1 million, the whole issue of how and when that would be released would be extremely complex. Would it be released in stages depending on what has yet to be finished? It is likely any such provision would apply to relatively small issues such as whether the tiles are properly laid in the common areas or the carpets in the halls leading to apartments are satisfactory. The issue of snagging cannot really be dealt with.

I have been involved in disputes before with regard to single purchasers of houses built by builders where retention moneys have been at issue until the development is finished. It is always the source of much complaint. If there is to be retention, there is a provision in the Government amendment to allow for alternative dispute resolution to prevent people from having to go to court. However, if an owners' management company had a massive amount of money retained and there was a dispute over the completion, it would end up in court, unfortunately.

I will make regulations specifying who would be considered qualified to conduct a prior fire safety inspection and issue fire safety certificates subsequently.

I am not persuaded by the Minister's argument. Amendment No. 47 in my name encompasses two pages of procedures on the completion of a development. A great deal of thought and work went into this by professionals in this area. The Minister says he has a great deal of sympathy with the notion of retaining a bond but he envisages a great many disputes as a result. This amendment address this very matter. It provides:

In the event of a dispute arising in relation to completion of the development, following issue of one or more of the notices referred to in this section, such dispute shall be resolved in accordance with dispute resolution provisions to be set down in regulations to be made by the Minister.

Is the Minister seriously telling the House that it is beyond his and his officials' capacity to make a regulation establishing a disputes-resolution mechanism that is fair and effective? I do not believe him. The Minister claims there could be much money, even €1 million or more, involved in these cases. With such amounts involved, I can assure the House a developer will see he gets his back even if it means finishing a development to a proper standard.

It would focus a developer's mind.

I am not persuaded by the substance of the Minister's argument. The Law Reform Commission examined this issue against some knowledge and visits to some of the messes left by developers and came up with a similar proposal to my amendment.

People claim there are cases where it does not matter who is in the ministerial hot seat. In this case, it does. While a different incumbent in this Department may not perform as well in certain areas as this Minister has, in many respects he or she would still have gone for the Law Reform Commission solution on this matter. It might not be so easy to dismiss the Law Reform Commission proposal, however.

A bond is not unknown in the building industry. There are bonds in it and many others such as the airline industry. A great opportunity to deal with this issue has been missed, however, and I do not find the Minister's arguments persuasive.

Amendment put and declared lost.

I move amendment No. 2:

In page 5, between lines 15 and 16, to insert the following:

""satisfactory completion" means a development is finished and complete in accordance with the satisfaction of the developer, the owners' management company and the planning authority;".

Amendment put and declared lost.

Recommittal is necessary in respect of amendment No. 3 as it does not arise from Committee Stage proceedings. Amendments Nos. 6, 8, 9, 11 to 13, inclusive, 20, 21, 23 to 25, inclusive, 28 to 30, inclusive, 33, 34, 36 to 42 inclusive, 44, 46, 49, 50, 52, 53 to 55, inclusive, 57, 62, 63, 67, 71, 76, 78, 91, 94, 95, 100, 102 and 109 are related and will be discussed together.

Bill recommitted in respect of amendment No. 3.

I move amendment No. 3:

In page 5, to delete line 16.

These are drafting amendments. As the Leas-Cheann Comhairle indicated, this is a large group of drafting amendments that arise from earlier amendments to the scope of the Bill. The Bill's scope was extended on earlier Seanad Stages and in the select committee to include traditional housing estates which have an owner-management company structure and to cover mixed-use multi-unit developments.

These changes necessitated amendments to definitions, including the introduction of the definition of "commercial unit" which now appears in section 1. The Bill already included a definition of "unit" as meaning a "residential unit". The Bill, as it now stands, makes numerous references to units. It is not always clear whether such a reference is intended to refer to residential units, commercial units or both. In the interests of clarity, amendment No. 3 proposes the definition of "unit" be removed and that in the other amendments under consideration the term "residential" be inserted before the term "unit" wherever appropriate. The same problem arises wherever the term "development" is used. It is no longer clear whether it refers to multi-unit development, mixed-use multi-unit development or to both. Several amendments are proposed to clarify what is intended. The opportunity has also been taken to improve the Bill's text, readability and comprehension.

Amendment agreed to.
Bill reported with amendment.

Amendments Nos. 4, 10, 72, 77 and 79 are related and will be discussed together.

I move amendment No. 4:

In page 5, line 37, to delete "shall be considered" and substitute "shall be regarded".

This is a drafting amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 5:

In page 5, after line 47, to insert the following:

"(6) Subject to any order made by a court pursuant tosection 21, nothing in this Act relating to—

(a) the obligation to transfer the ownership of the common areas of a multi-unit development or a relevant part of such common areas to the owners’management company concerned,

(b) the obligation to establish an owners’ management company as respects that development, or

(c) the structure or conduct of the affairs of an owners’ management company,

shall be construed as preventing compliance with that obligation by the establishment of different owners' management companies in respect of different parts of the multi-unit development or by the transfer to such companies of the ownership of such parts of the development.".

I have tabled this amendment to avoid possible confusion concerning the impact of the Bill on multi-unit developments which may have different owner-management companies in respect of different parts of a development. It clarifies that the Bill does not require that only one owner-management company be established for a development and that the provisions of the legislation may be complied with if there is more than one owner-management company.

Amendment agreed to.

Recommittal is necessary in respect of amendment No. 6 as it does not arise from Committee Stage proceedings.

Bill recommitted in respect of amendment No. 6.

I move amendment No. 6:

In page 6, lines 3 and 4, to delete "comprising 2 or more units but less than 5 units" and substitute the following:

"comprising 2 or more residential units but less than 5 residential units".

Amendment agreed to.
Bill reported with amendment.

I move amendment No. 7:

In page 6, to delete lines 5 to 10 and substitute the following:

"(2) Where—

(a) all the units in a multi-unit development are residential units, and

(b) the structure, or that part of the structure, in which the residential units are situate, does not form part, and was never intended to form part, of the common areas of the development,

the provisions ofSchedule 2 shall apply as respects the common areas of the development.”.

This amendment is to clarify the scope of section 2(2), which applies certain provisions of the Bill, as set out in Schedule 2, to traditional-type housing estates which have an owner-management company. It is essentially a drafting amendment that does not alter the substance of the existing text. The new wording is intended to make it clear that relevant provisions — that is, those outlined in Schedule 2 — apply to such housing estate developments whether they contain detached, semi-detached or terraced houses, or a combination of any such units.

I also table amendments Nos. 117 to 120, inclusive, which amend Schedule 2 in order to apply the following sections of the Bill to these types of developments: sections 4, 6, 9, 11, 12, 18 and 19.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 8:

In page 6, to delete line 13 and substitute the following:

"(a) residential units in the development, and”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 9:

In page 6, lines 15 and 16, to delete "by such commercial units and units" and substitute "by such commercial units and residential units".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 10:

In page 6, line 20, to delete "be considered" and substitute "be regarded".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 11:

In page 6, line 34, to delete "of the development" and substitute "of the mixed use multi-unit development".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 12:

In page 6, line 44, to delete "a unit in a multi-unit development" and substitute "a residential unit in a multi-unit development".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 13:

In page 7, lines 5 and 6, to delete "in the unit being transferred" and substitute "in the residential unit being transferred".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 14:

In page 7, line 8, to delete "and" and substitute the following:

"(c) a certificate from a suitably qualified person that the relevant parts of the multi-unit development have been constructed in compliance with the fire safety certificate concerned issued pursuant to the Building Control Acts 1990 and 2007 has been furnished by the person to whom subsection (2)(b) refers to the owners’ management company, and”.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 15:

In page 7, line 16, to delete "requirements, and" and substitute "requirements,".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 16:

In page 7, line 18, to delete "concerned." and substitute the following:

"concerned,

(iii) the release to the developer of monies held by the owners' management company where the contract provides for monies to be so held by the owners' management company pending completion of the common areas concerned, and

(iv) the process for resolving disputes between the parties to the contract as respects the completion of the development.".

Amendment agreed to.
Amendment No. 17 not moved.

I move amendment No. 18:

In page 7, between lines 18 and 19, to insert the following:

"(2) On closing of a unit sale prior to completion of the development, the developer shall pay 5 per cent of the purchase prices to the owners' management company which shall hold such sum in trust for the developer until the development is completed.".

Amendment put and declared lost.

I move amendment No. 19:

In page 7, between lines 18 and 19, to insert the following:

"(2) On closing of a unit sale prior to completion of the development, the developer should pay 5 per cent of the purchase price to the owners management company which should hold this sum in trust until the development is satisfactorily completed.".

Amendment put and declared lost.

I move amendment No. 20:

In page 7, line 26, to delete "common areas of a multi-unit development" and substitute the following:

"relevant parts of the common areas of a multi-unit development".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 21:

In page 7, line 29, to delete "of the said lands" and substitute "of the land concerned".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 22:

In page 7, to delete lines 30 to 33 and substitute the following:

"(b) to transfer all rights necessary to enable the owner of each residential unit to enjoy the quiet and peaceful occupation of the residential unit of which he or she is the owner, and”.

This is a technical amendment which does not change the substance of the paragraph. It seeks to make clear that the transfer of ownership of relevant parts of the common areas to the owner-management company includes an obligation on the part of the developer to ensure that the owner of each residential unit can enjoy the peaceful and quiet occupation of his or her apartment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 23:

In page 7, line 36, to delete "of the units" and substitute "of the residential units".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 24:

In page 7, line 39, to delete "the unit owner enjoys" and substitute the following:

"each owner of a residential unit in the development concerned enjoys".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 25:

In page 8, line 14, to delete "to the units" and substitute "to the residential units".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 26:

In page 8, between lines 17 and 18, to insert the following:

"(8) In this section—

"suitably qualified person" means a person who is a member of a class or classes of persons prescribed by the Minister for the purposes of this section;

"prescribed" means prescribed by regulations made by the Minister having consulted the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

(9) Regulations made by the Minister under this section may prescribe a class or classes of persons who in the view of the Minister, having considered the qualifications, training, and expertise of such class or classes of persons by reference to the functions to be performed by members of such class pursuant to this section, are suitably qualified.".

How soon does the Minister expect to be in a position to bring forward the regulations?

We have to go back to the Seanad with any amendments that we make here, so I would think it will be shortly after that.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 27:

In page 8, between lines 17 and 18, to insert the following:

"4.—No person may sell a unit unless the purchaser has supplied his or her residential address to the owners' management company and has undertaken that if he or she resides elsewhere than at the unit he or she shall notify the company of any future changes in address until he or she disposes of any interest in the unit or resides in the unit.".

This amendment arises from a suggestion by the Apartment Owners' Network. They make the point, which is manifestly the case, that in this Bill second-hand sales are not regulated. Such purchasers are often unaware of the obligations of membership of an owner-management company. To a large extent, the success of this type of housing depends on the collective effort of citizens being prepared to make the concept of a management company work. There are many obstacles in the way of that, especially during a housing crash. Many young people bought such apartments but are now in negative equity as well as being unemployed. This amendment seeks to address one aspect, which is the second-hand ownership issue. I cannot think of any reason the Minister would not want to accede to it.

On Committee Stage I amended section 8(3) to require that unit owners must provide the owner-management company with relevant contact details. I understand the motivation behind this amendment but I have serious reservations about how it would work in practice. The amendment suggests that the sale of apartments be made conditional on compliance with undertakings with the purchaser. However, there is no means by which a vendor could ensure that the purchaser abided by any such commitments at the time of purchase by the purchaser. It also casts doubt on the validity of the sale if the purchaser did not subsequently respect the undertakings given. As a result of amendments agreed on Committee Stage, I believe section 8 now addresses the substance of what Deputy Rabbitte seeks. Section 8(3) states that a unit owner, whether the owner of a residential unit or a commercial unit, shall be under an obligation to furnish to the relevant owner-management company particulars of his or her name, particulars of his or her address, particulars of the names of the tenants in the unit, particulars of any habitual occupiers of the units other than tenants, and such other contact particulars as the owner-management company may reasonably request, and shall promptly notify the owner-management company of any change in such particulars. However, on how the seller can subsequently be required to provide those details on an ongoing basis, from a practical viewpoint it would be unreasonable.

Is Deputy Rabbitte pressing the amendment?

Manifestly not, because the Minister will not take it on board.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 28:

In page 8, line 19, to delete "of a unit" and substitute "of a residential unit".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 29:

In page 8, line 22, to delete "relating to the units" and substitute "relating to the residential units".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 30:

In page 8, line 31, to delete "to the units" and substitute "to the residential units".

Amendment agreed to.

As it is now 11 o'clock, I am required to put the following question in accordance with an order of the Dáil of this day: "That the amendments set down by the Minister for Justice and Law Reform and not disposed of are hereby made to the Bill; Fourth Stage is hereby completed and the Bill is hereby passed."

I thank you, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle and Members on the other side of the House for their work on this legislation. It was difficult legislation, from my point of view. While I was the sponsoring Minister, it crossed over a number of Departments, particularly the Departments of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and Enterprise, Trade and Innovation. We had a number of meetings to tease out the issues involved. With respect to the Law Reform Commission, its recommendations were not as comprehensive as we required for good legislation in this area.

The amendments we have agreed will be taken to the Seanad, but I hope this legislation will be enacted in the new year.

I join the Minister in thanking you, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle, for guiding the conclusion of the Bill, and I thank the Minister's officials. This is reforming legislation for which Members on this side of the House have campaigned for six or seven years. It is not perfect. No legislation is. I would have preferred some matters to have taken a different direction. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile.

I thank the Minister for his co-operation in the prosecution of the Bill and acknowledge that this may be the last time he takes Report Stage of a Bill in the House. We do not know.

Who knows? He could be back.

If it is, I wish him many years in retirement with his surf board. I hope it goes well.

That is all past me, unfortunately.

I welcome the completion of Report Stage of this important legislation. For the first time, apartment owners can have their voices heard and have someone to turn to regarding the multiple problems that can appear in apartment complexes.

I thank the Minister for his efforts and his officials for their good work. I am delighted the Minister has brought forward amendments in the area of fire safety, which was overlooked initially and deserves the attention it is now getting. Fine Gael, and most Deputies, have been campaigning for proper legislation in this area in the past ten years. I am delighted the Bill will become law as soon as possible.

I thank the Minister again and wish him well.

On the surf board.

Question put and agreed to.

The Bill, which is considered by virtue of Article 22.2 of the Constitution as a Bill initiated in Dáil Éireann, will now be sent to the Seanad.