Guidebooks on property management published

Two publications offering advice on property management companies were unveiled by the Director of Corporate Enforcement today…

Two publications offering advice on property management companies were unveiled by the Director of Corporate Enforcement today following a rising number of complaints on the issue.

A Property Owner's Guide to Company Lawis a booklet that explains the role and function of management companies, their directors and members.

A more detailed Company Law Handbookis intended to be a self-help guide for management company directors and property owners. It discusses the role of management companies relative to managing agents, the voting power of property owners in management companies; the appointment of management company directors, and the duties of directors.

Commenting on the publications, the director of the Office of Corporate Enforcement Paul Appleby


said they would “bridge a significant information deficit" on the issue and came in response to a 100 per cent rise in the number of complaints in the area.

“We have produced this guidance in order to provide clear and comprehensive information to help the directors and property owners within residential property management companies to improve their effectiveness in meeting the residents' needs for a good quality living environment.”

Mr Appleby said the guidance was produced following a “a steady stream” of complaints to his office over governance problems such as the failure of company directors to call annual general meetings and the failure to provide property owners with copies of the company’s annual financial statement.

In 2007, the number of formal complaints to Office of Corporate Enforcement was 64, a 100 rise on the previous year, with 61 received this year. In addition, there was a large number of non-formal enquiries made to the office, Mr Appleby added.

The guidebooks follow an ODCE consultation process that finished in 2007 and produced 67 submissions.

Mr Appleby said the publications' focus on company law matters seeks to complement other publications relating to property management companies, such as the National Consumer Agency's Buying and Living in a Multi-Unit Development Property in Ireland,published in September 2008, and a Law Reform Commission Report on Multi-Unit Developments in June 2008.

He noted many problematic issues, such as service charges, relate to contract or property law, and so company law is limited in dealing with such broader problems.

Established in 2001, the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement encourages compliance with company law, examines suspected breaches of the law, and prosecutes such breaches.

Both publications are available on the ODCE website.

But Fine Gael housing spokesman Terence Flanagan said the Government is “still one report away from action” when it comes to management companies as the Government had still not brought forward legislation.

“This is totally unacceptable as the Government has been working on this legislation for over three years. Meanwhile, apartment owners throughout the country continue to be ripped off with high service charges and little value for money.”

"The Government set up the National Property Services Regulatory Authority in 2005. . . However it cannot operate as legislation to give it power has not been brought before the Dáil.

Mr Flanagan urged the Minister for Justice to bring the Property Services Authority Bill before the Oireachtas.

Jason Michael

Jason Michael

Jason Michael is a journalist with The Irish Times