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Friday 22 August 2014

Law is on your side so insist on fair fees, flat dwellers told

Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor

Published 06/12/2012 | 05:00

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PEOPLE who live in apartments have been advised to make sure they do not end up being forced to pay too much in management charges next year.

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New laws mean apartment owners have a right to ensure fair and reasonable charges are being imposed.

But unscrupulous management agents often force them to agree to block management budgets that are not in their interests, claiming the insurance policy on the building will lapse if the budget is rejected.

Annual management fees to be imposed next month are expected to average €1,500, according to Alan Drennan of Core Estate Management.

He explained that recent legislation means owners have the right to ensure their block's finances are managed fairly, with reasonable charges.

"Under the Multi-Unit Development Act 2011, the board of the management company on each development has to hold a meeting of all owners in order for them to vote on and agree the budget for 2013.

"If owners are worried about the costs outlined in the budget then it is important that in this meeting they question these costs and ensure that the lowest costs have been found and that there has been total transparency in how the services for the development were agreed, '' said Mr Drennan, adding that owners should question if insurance, maintenance and cleaning have been put out to tender.

Pressure

Insurance fees should have fallen with property values.

Owners should also ask if services like landscaping are being provided by the managing agents, at a high cost.

"Unscrupulous agents who find owners rejecting a budget can put pressure on them and say that the budget needs to be approved before the end of the year or before the current insurance policy lapses," Mr Drennan warned. But under the law, if a budget is rejected, the current budget stays in force, he said.

Irish Independent

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