New Laws to Protect Apartment Owners and Occupiers

Diamond Valley Apartments, Bray, Co. Wicklow.

We consider ourselves lucky in Diamond Valley to have a well managed mature development with a functioning owner-controlled Management Company and a sinking fund for long-term maintenance obligations. Not all apartment developments in Ireland are in this situation and for this reason, many apartment owners and occupiers have been eagerly awaiting the publication of the new Multi Unit Development Act 2011.

This important piece of legislation was brought into operation on 01 April 2011 and affects all apartments, including those in Diamond Valley. Here are some of the changes this legislation brings about:

  1. Common Areas must now be transferred from the developer to  the owners’s management company prior to the sale of the first apartment.
  2. There is now a legal obligation to provide a sinking fund. Each apartment is to contribute €200 per annum or other sum agreed at a meeting of apartment owners.
  3. Apartment owners are, under this act, legally obliged to pay service charges. The act does not prevent apartment owners from recovering service charges from tenants, where this is provided in the tenancy agreement.http://www.diamondvalley.ie/MaintenanceCharges.html
  4. Under this act House Rules are legally binding on owners, tenents and ‘servants, agents and licensees’ of owners or tenants. House Rules must be agreed at a meeting of owners but shall be consistent with the existing rules in the title documents of apartments http://www.diamondvalley.ie/HouseRules.html.
  5. If House Rules are breached, the owners’ Management Company may apply to the Courts to recover from the owner or tenant the cost of remedying the situation.
  6. An owner, or the owners Management Company, or other persons specified under the act may apply to the Circuit Court to enforce any obligation imposed by this act.
  7. There is a maximum 3 year term for Directors on Management Companies. Service contracts may not be awarded for longer than 3 years.
  8. The Minister has powers to produce detailed Regulations on service charges, house rules, sinking funds and other subjects.

This new legislation provides much needed regulation to the sector and protection to those who have made investments in apartment dwellings. The new laws will in many cases make it easier to buy, sell and live in apartments or other multi use developments sharing common areas.

Note: the above is not a legally advised interpretation. The full text of the new Multi Units Development Act 2011 may be found at http://www.oireachtas.ie/documents/bills28/acts/2011/a211.pdf

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The editor of this diary lives in Diamond Valley, Bray, Co. Wicklow, Ireland. Diamond Valley is a modern apartment community in the old setting of the Valley of Diamonds, alongside the river Dargle. Contact editor@diamondvalley.ie
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