Impartial advice on buying, private development insurance, market price
Simon Stokes is Chairman of the residential property group of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI)
Q I live in a private development and my car got broken into. The management company said it was not covered under the insurance and in effect was nothing to do with them. The car park is at surface level and there are no gates. Is there anything I can do?
A The managing agent is correct in advising you that there was no recourse through the development’s insurances. Theft or damage to a vehicle is not covered by the block and public liability insurance policies held in the name of the owners’ management company. It is usually the case that all vehicles and contents are left at the owners risk in the development.
You don’t mention whether you reported the incident to the Garda or not. If you haven’t already done this you should do so as soon as possible. You should also check with the owners’ management company to see if there is CCTV footage that would assist the Garda.
Many developments have installed CCTV at a reasonable cost to residents. It is also possible for residents to log into the development’s CCTV system via smart phones or other internet enabled devices at no extra cost if the CCTV system is relatively new. This allows for the opportunity to download historical files off the digital video recorder which can then be forwarded to the Garda.
Criminals are less likely to enter a development where residents have instant access to the IP CCTV system as the cameras can be monitored in real time and the authorities alerted immediately of any suspicious activity. If theft becomes a regular occurrence in the development it should be raised at the next AGM.
It is also possible to involve the local community garda with the owners’ management company to improve the development’s security. Another affordable option is to install motion-sensor spotlights in dark areas of the development or at entry points to the complex. While these measures will not help your situation now, they could help prevent it from happening again in the future.
Paul Huberman is a member of the property and facilities management professional group of the SCSI
Q We are first-time buyers seeking to buy a home. However, we are confused because of the various reports we have read about house prices. Could you give us your opinion on what is happening in the market?
A A number of reports on the property market published recently point to a stabilisation in property prices in certain areas. The latest Central Statistics Office (CSO) House Price Index reports that property prices nationally rose 2.3 per cent in the year to July. It also states that prices in Dublin grew by 3.3 per cent in July and are 8 per cent higher than a year ago and that apartments in Dublin were 11.6 per cent higher in July of this year compared to July 2012.