Frequently Asked Questions
What is an estate or block management company?
All common parts and services within any complex, not belonging to or the responsibility of a specific person, must be vested in a body or owners management company. These common areas may be internal and/or external. The company has responsibilities to all the members to ensure that the common parts are maintained to a high standard for the enjoyment of all concerned.
The full responsibilities of the company are outlined in the company’s Memorandum and Articles of Association, and in the Management Agreements attaching to the Title documents.
All owners individually have co-responsibility to the company to perform certain obligations as set out in the Management Agreements, including payment of service charges.
What’s the difference between a management company and a managing agent?
The management company is made up of members who typically own a housing in the house, is legally obliged to oversee maintenance work and the management of common area services in multi-unit developments. Many developers and management companies employ professional firms known as managing agents to provide maintenance and other services.
Why does the management company require a managing agent?
As the Board of Directors act in a voluntary capacity it often makes practical sense to delegate day to day management functions to an agent. The agent should also have expertise in the area of statutory and regulatory requirements for the management company.
What can I do if I am not happy with the managing agent?
We suggest that if you are not happy with how the management company is being run, you need to either contact the directors of the management company or more actively volunteer to become a director of the management company. This can happen by getting elected by the residents at the AGM. Normally any interested parties are voted in at an AGM.
How do I become a director of the management company?
To become a Director of a management company you must put your name forward at an Annual General Meeting. Your nomination must then be voted by other members of the management company.
What are my responsibilities as an Owner’s Management Company Director?
It is the role of the directors to act in a voluntary capacity in the best interests of all the members of the management company. These responsibilities include ensuring compliance with all statutory & regulatory obligations on the management company.
Am I legally obliged to pay service charges?
Service charges are not an optional payment if they are part of the terms and conditions of your contract to buy the unit.
Once you conclude the contract, you have an ongoing legal obligation to pay these charges, usually on an annual basis. So make sure your solicitor explains these obligations.
Not paying may leave you open to legal action, and any outstanding debts can be tied to your property.
How can I ensure all parties pay the service charge?
All members are obliged to pay a service charge. Unfortunately, some residents may take the view that they are unwilling to pay which places increasing pressure on the residents and the management company to maintain services. Early communication can assist greatly in preventing the escalation of arrears. If you are a lease holder in a management company, you should be aware that a resident is not entitled to withhold their service charges. Depending on the lease and the management company, a lease can include a provision to charge interest that is applied to arrears.
What is a sinking fund?
A proportion of the Annual Service Charge is put aside for the replacement of major common-area items, replacement of carpets, major repairs to fire alarms or lifting mechanisms. The amount will depend on the size of the development and is paid as part of the Annual Service Charge. This Fund is important as it helps to minimize the impact of occasional, high-cost maintenance services.
Can the information held by the management company be made available to the public or other residents?
Certain information is considered public information such as your membership of a management company. Information on all companies is available to view on a company’s register of members. Your financial or personal details cannot however be made available to the public or to anyone whose role does not require them.
What are service charges? How are they calculated?
Service charges are the annual fees that property owners pay for services provided by their housing or apartment development’s management company. These pay for the upkeep of common areas, such as repairs and running costs (e.g. electricity, lifts) for these areas, and may cover other services such as refuse collection or landscaping. Most management companies use an “apportionment” method to decide the individual service charge; this is usually in accordance with the governing documents of the company.
This method factors in the size and type of unit in calculating what percentage of the overall service charge bill is owed by each home owner.
How long is the service charge payable for?
As long as you own the property, you pay an annual service charge. Once the property is sold, the new owner is responsible for the payment of the service charge.
Will the service charge fee be the same amount every year?
Not necessarily, it will depend on how much work needs to be carried out and the budget agreed by members at the AGM.
How can I pay my service charge fee?
Service charges can be paid in several ways. OSPM accept card payment from all major credit cards and debit cards. We also accept payment by cheque or bank transfer and standing order.
What repairs and maintenance is the management company responsible for?
The management company is responsible to repairs to the common areas only. The management company is not responsible for any repairs and maintenance works inside your apartment/house.
What does the insurance paid through the management company cover?
The management company insurance policy (known as the “Block Policy”) usually covers, inter alia, the external structure of an apartment block, the common areas, damage caused by burst water pipe, subsidence, vandalism, storm damage.
What are house rules?
The House Rules are a set of regulations for living in a multi-unit development that all residents must adhere to. The rules are laid out in the Head Lease signed by all members on close of sale.