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Irish Times Property Clinic 18th day of April 2024.

 

 

 

Publishing Date; Thursday the 18th day of April 2024.

 

Q I live in an apartment block in a large state in a Dublin commuter town. Each apartment block in our estate has their own designated garden to be shared with the residents of that block. We would love to use the garden space in our block but it is not maintained well at all. There are bins from previous tenants, a sofa, random kid toys (even though kids no longer live in the apartment), a shed someone has erected (without permission) for their own use, and the grass and yard are in disrepair. I've raised this concern with the landlord's agent several times over the last year but nothing has been done. Is it possible for me to contact the management company that looks after the estate directly or what should I do? Can I go about clearing it if they are not doing anything? We hope to be able to enjoy the garden this summer. 

A. Poorly maintained common areas can be a symptom of many different issues within an owners' management company (OMC).

The OMC agent will want to engage with the property owner directly. The long lasting benefit for this is to ensure that a strong line of communication between the OMC and the property owner is maintained. Direct communication between the OMC and the members will result in better service charge payment and greater lease compliance as all parties buy into the OMC construct. It is true to say that the higher the owner occupancy of a development the greater the condition it is in. Whether there is a tenancy agent in place or not the landlord still must maintain correspondence with the OMC. The OMC can suffer if a landlord is very hands off. This can occur where they expect a tenancy agent to deal with everything associated with the property.

 

More often than not, a landlord will fail to notify the OMC of their tenants’ particulars in accordance with Section 8 (3) of the Multi-Unit Developments Act 2011. It is good housekeeping for a property owner to notify their OMC of their tenants particulars every year. The OMC agent will most likely not know who you are and will need to discuss the matters with the owner directly.

 

Something as simple as clearing out a common area in the interest of the greater good suffers from red tape and appetite for litigation. Insurance cover and risk assessment would be required to progress the works. The OMC agent would have to advise that the works could not proceed without the aforesaid minimum requirements in place as the request would be formalised to them when made by you.

 

Send a formal letter to the landlord outlining your concerns and request that they raise the matters with the OMC. If they are ignored, the landlord can take it up at the AGM. It would not be unreasonable for the landlord revert to you with an update which might take time. The landlord is restricted from obtaining your intended outcome as it is up to the OMC to take action.

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: 18/04/2024

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