The 'intelligent' guide to apartment living


THE National Consumer Agency has launched a website - - and guide for people living in, or planning on buying, multi-unit dwellings.

There's a quiz on the website so you can test yourself on whether you know your management company from your sinking fund. But some of the questions beggar belief. "You want to insure your personal property? Who is responsible for organising this?" The multiple choice options are: the management company; the developer; or you are. D'oh.

Another question is: "You think the service charge is too high. Do you have to pay?" The correct answer in the multiple choice is "yes, because you've signed the contract and the services were provided". Another asks what the directors of a management company are for? One of the possible answers is "ensuring that your apartment is kept tidy".

Over 250,000 people live in multi-unit developments and the NCA research into the sector two years ago threw up a number of issues, not least of which was a "demonstrable lack of awareness among consumers of their rights and responsibilities when buying or living in an apartment".

One wonders if any of the people they spoke to were sitting in their apartments waiting for the cheque from the developer for their household contents insurance or wondering when the management company was coming around to check their apartment for clutter?

The website has information and tips on consumers' rights and responsibilities as well as sample financial reporting documents to assist consumers understand the management company's finances.

The guide, Buying and Living in a Multi-Unit Development Property in Ireland, is available as a booklet or as a download from the website.