Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Questions (532)

Shane Ross


532. Deputy Shane Ross asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 122 of 7 February 2013, if he will respond regarding management charges (details supplied) and the fact that even when property values have declined, management rates remain the same; his views on whether this is a matter of serious concern; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8776/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The position is that the primary purpose of the Multi-Unit Developments Act 2011 is to reform the law relating to the ownership and management of common areas of multi-unit developments and to facilitate the fair, efficient and effective management of owners' management companies, OMCs. These are bodies established for the management of such areas, the membership of which comprise the owners of residential units within the development.

As regards service charges, the position is that section 18 of the 2011 Act requires each OMC to establish and maintain a scheme of annual service charges to fund the costs of insurance, maintenance and other common or shared services. These service charges, which are not therefore directly related to the value of residential units in the development, must be calculated on a transparent basis, be apportioned on an equitable basis between unit owners and be approved by the owners at a meeting of the OMC. In summary, the Act gives residential unit owners a direct role in determining the level of annual service charge, the level of services to be funded and the manner in which such services are to be provided.

I should add that section 18 also provides that each owner is under an obligation to pay annual service charges and that section 22 provides that unpaid service charges may be recovered by the OMC concerned as a simple contract debt in a court of competent jurisdiction, that is, normally, the District Court.