Friday 20 April 2018

Many apartment owners unable to pay service fees

Picture posed. Thinkstock
Picture posed. Thinkstock

Charlie Weston, Personal Finance Editor

UP to 30pc of apartment owners are unable to pay management service charges on the flats they own, according to a property manager that looks after 13,000 properties.

Many owner occupiers and residential property owners were unable to meet their mortgage repayments and could not cope with higher management charges, Brian Keenan, of Keenan Property Management (KPM), said.

He said average service charges -- which covers the likes of insurance and lift maintenance in apartment blocks -- were shooting up from €1,200 to €1,600 a year.

Mr Keenan, whose company is contracted to manage properties on behalf of property investors, said large numbers of apartment owners were not paying service charges because they did not have the funds.

"It is absolutely ludicrous that in a continuing economic downturn and property slump most property managing agents are increasing annual service charges in the full knowledge that property owners are having great difficulty paying their mortgages, let alone service charges," he said.

He called for the property management industry and the Government to come together to work out solutions to the problem. There was an urgent need for regulation of management firms, he added.

He also said the sector and owners had been impacted by "cowboys".

Mr Keenan pointed out that many apartment owners who were in negative equity and who could no longer afford mortgage repayments were handing back the keys to the bank and walking away.

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