Can a former apartment management company keep billing my daughter?

Property Clinic: New company is billing her for service charges arrears from 2008

Photograph: Getty

Photograph: Getty

 

My daughter bought an apartment in 2006. She had problems with the management company from the start regarding leaks etc in the apartment which were never rectified.

In 2008 she ran into financial trouble due to the recession and owed arrears. In 2015 a new property company took over the management. They keep sending her letters regarding arrears from the previous management company. The current management company is paid up to date. What is her liability for the previous arrears relating to problems that were never dealt with? She has sent numerous letters regarding these problems. She is very worried as she is not in a financial position to pay these arrears. Can you give us any general information on this situation?

Many problems have been encountered by people with management companies through the years. Problems do continue for some owners but have been alleviated to an extent by the introduction of the Multi-Unit Developments Act 2011, known as the “Mud Act”.

Since April 1st, 2011 the Mud Act regulates the ownership and management of common areas of multi-unit developments. It provides for the setting up of managing companies to manage such areas. In general, a management company should not expect to be paid arrears of charges due to a previous company, particularly if it has been placed in liquidation or is no longer trading.

If it is the new management company that keeps sending letters regarding arrears of payments due then the first thing to check is the title documents, generally a lease.

Check what are the covenants (obligations) under the lease? And then whether they oblige the owner of the apartment to discharge and pay all arrears of management charges even to a company no longer trading.

While there is generally an obligation to pay service charges, there is also an obligation on the management company to deal with the common areas. There are a number of questions that should be asked: Have the common areas been transferred under the Mud Act? If they have not been transferred to the management company then the owners of the apartments have rights and remedies under that Act as members of the management company.

Ask whether there was a transfer of the debts from the previous management company to the new company? If there was no transfer of the debts then the new management company may have no legal right to collect the arrears.

If the problems that were experienced through the years with the previous management company in relation to leaks and other matters were not rectified then there may be a “set off” in respect of such charges against the cost of remedying the leaks.

While the law is perhaps on the side of the apartment owner, it may be best to try and come to some practical solution such as an agreement on a without prejudice payment to clear such arrears.

The cost of going to court to have the matter resolved would outweigh the arrears of charges and the costs of the remedial works required.

Patrick O’Connor is a solicitor with P O’Connor & Son, Co Mayo. poconsol.ie

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.