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Irish Times Property Clinic 2nd day of May 2024.

 

 

 

Publishing Date; Thursday the 2nd day of May 2024.

 

Q Last summer, my husband and our daughter moved to new rented apartment outside of Dublin. With the colder months we have noticed the windows in this apartment are in terrible condition. The windows do not seal properly and mould collects on the edges of the windows. We are constantly cleaning them and can tell the windows (which are wooden) are in terrible shape. We've discussed this with our landlord and asked about repairing, sealing or replacing but our landlord has said that is up to the Management company and not in their control. Who is responsible for this type of repair?  

A. Damp conditions will accelerate the deterioration of the timber frames, so prompt action is required. Like most thins in life, ignoring the problem will only make it worse and more expensive to resolve.

A landlord should ensure that their rental apartment is free of damp. A tenant should ensure that the property is adequately ventilated during their activities to mitigate damp and mould, and the means to so should be provided by the landlord.

 

You’ll find a useful guide on the landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities on the Residential Tenancies Board website.

For the landlord, the matter of who is responsible for the maintenance of the window frames in the property will be evident in the binding lease agreement between the landlord and the owners’ management company (OMC). Lease agreement can vary between developments in relation to the responsibility of the upkeep of window and door frames. With some it’s the property owner and for others it’s the OMC. Timber needs to be maintained and, depending on what the frames are being exposed to, the maintenance schedule can vary from every five years to more regular cleaning, sanding, staining, or painting.

 

For example, if the development is located near the coast and the frames are being exposed to salty air, constant wind, moisture, and strong sunlight, they will require more regular maintenance.

If the landlord wishes to be proactive and seek a resolution to the problem, they could lend their time and knowledge to the OMC by becoming a director. This would allow the landlord to participate as a decision maker and to resolve the issues, such as window dilapidation that could benefit the overall running of the development.

OMCs can benefit from having directors with a wide range of expertise. If they have this mix the OMC will be better equipped to accommodate the interests of all the members and satisfy company responsibilities. Informed and sensible OMCs will make provision for adequate sinking funds to ensure long-term investment is made for a sustainable development. There is a need to ensure that the sinking funds are appropriately funded and managed. The current Government committed to reviewing the Multi-Unit Developments Act 2011 more than three years ago, but nothing has yet been published.

Paul Huberman FSCSI FRICS is a chartered property and facilities manager, and a Fellow of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. 

Author: Paul Huberman of H&H Property Management Consultants Ltd

Publish Date: 02/05/2024

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