The Multi-Unit Developments Act 2011 was enacted with the primary purposes of reforming the law relating to the ownership and management of common areas of multi-unit developments and facilitating the fair, efficient and effective management of owners' management companies (OMCs). These are companies registered under the Companies Acts, the members of which are the owners of residential units within the development, which are established for the purposes of ownership and management of such common areas.
In relation to annual service charges, it is a matter for each individual OMC to determine the amount of the service charge on an annual basis. Section 18 of the Act requires OMCs to establish and maintain a scheme of annual service charges from which they may discharge expenditure incurred on the provision of common or shared services to the owners and occupiers of residential units in the development, including insurance, waste management and security services. The Act sets out clearly that the service charge must be calculated on a transparent basis, and be equitably apportioned between the residential unit owners. In order to ensure transparency and accountability, both the annual service charge and the services to be provided must be approved by a general meeting of the members of the OMC.
Section 24 of the Act contains provisions for the resolution of disputes relating to multi-unit developments. It provides that a person, including any member of an OMC, may apply to the Circuit Court for an Order to enforce any rights conferred or obligations imposed by the Act. The Court, if satisfied that a right has been infringed or an obligation has not been discharged, may make such remedial order as it deems appropriate in the circumstances with a view to ensuring the effective enforcement of the right or the effective discharge of the obligation. The Act also contains provisions which encourage the resolution of disputes that may arise between parties by means of mediation rather than recourse to court proceedings.