Irish Times Property Clinic 6th of March 2014
Publishing Date; Thursday the 6th day of March 2014.
Q. I own a top floor apartment in an older complex (developed some 30 years ago). Unfortunately the roof was damaged during the recent storms and leaks have now occurred. Despite numerous phone calls and letters, the management company is refusing to fix the leaks, saying that I should fix them myself. There is a sinking fund in place with sufficient monies to carry out the repair.
What are my options in this situation? I can't occupy the property until the roof is fixed, however I don't own the roof to fix it.
A. You are quite right in that you do not have the authority to fix the roof yourself nor are you required to do so. The roof is a shared structure and is the responsibility of the owners’ management company (OMC) to maintain.
I am assuming that you have attempted to contact the board of directors in an amicable fashion on numerous occasions with a clear outline of your concerns and provided them with your contact details. As you have exhausted the standard channels of communication you must now escalate the matter to protect your interests.
Any further delays will only lead to a potential claim on the block policy for damage caused to your property and this in turn will lead to a greater shared cost by way of increased future premiums on all members of the OMC to bear.
1.Send a registered letter to the board of the owners’ management company at the registered office address detailing the issue. The letter must be signed and dated and include your residing postal address and contact number. In the letter advise of the previous correspondence detailing the dates, times and persons contacted. Confirm that you will allow five business days for a written response which must include an undertaking to address the leak and outlines the contractors contact details tasked to fix the roof and the particulars of their instructions. Your letter should also be faxed and emailed to the board on the same day if possible.
2.Should the five days lapse without a formal response, write a registered letter that is signed and dated advising them that you wish them to contact the policy provider of their director and officers liability insurance as you intend to make a claim against them.
3.Forward the matter to your solicitor to act on your behalf.
Points 1 and 2 should get you an adequate response without the outlay of legal costs. If however the board persist in ignoring your plight you may have no option but to proceed to point three thereafter. It must be said that a licensed property service provider would be well versed in dealing with such issues for owners’ management company members without requiring the above intervention by you.
Paul Huberman is a member of the Property & Facilities Management Professional Group of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland
Author: Paul Huberman of H&H Property Management Consultants Ltd
Publish Date: 06/03/2013