Management Companies must oversee works on defective apartments with State intervention, as homeowners cannot be left to foot the bill, according to Senator Mary Seery-Kearney.
Senator Seery-Kearney, Fine Gael member of the Oireachtas Committee on Housing said, “Homeowners in their thousands are receiving bills from their Management Companies to make good defective work carried out by the complex developer. Often these bills are presented with demands for payment over a very short time period, and homeowners are being told that there is either poorly finished work leading to water leaks and damage, or, very seriously, that their complex is without the proper fire-retardant standards required to ensure their homes are safe.
“This has to stop. Homeowners cannot be left to foot the bill for defective apartments. In some cases homeowners cannot insure their properties where defects have been discovered, and they cannot sell them until all of the works are certified and completed.” Affected complexes were all built prior to the changes in building standards and certification in 2014.
Senator Seery-Kearney continued, “Management Companies must be supported with a redress scheme to assist with remediation works, so that they can cease with these demands on homeowners. Government must ensure a bespoke redress scheme, allocating the required funds to Management Companies, the party responsible to ensure the works are carried out. A clear commitment to fund remediation works from Government would enable Management Companies to raise the finance to fund the works, cutting beleaguered homeowners out of the equation.
“This cannot fall to individual homeowners to pay out, in cases where they perhaps cannot afford it, and only some will pay it with the potential that it may render the management company insolvent and the remediation works unresolved. Many homeowners and their Management Companies are awaiting the Government’s response to the Construction Defects Working Group report before the commencement of the works. Now that that report is published, it is vital that Government responds swiftly.
“It is also inequitable that individual homeowners are being asked to pay the same as the professional landlords who own apartments in the same complex. Those professional landlords have the ability to write the cost of remediation against tax, an option not open to homeowners. “In cases where payments have already been made by homeowners, a retrospective compensation element must be provided for in any redress provision. The remediation will come at a considerable cost to the taxpayer and it is my belief that a construction levy is going to be required to recoup some of these costs.
“I am frequently hearing from constituents about the terrible pressure they are under in relation to this. One homeowner told the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing about her fears for her daughters at night when she tucks them into bed; it is intolerable that families are living in fear of the possible defective fire standards in their apartments. “I very much welcome the work of the Construction Defects Working Group, and I hope a speedy Government response will bring relief and a road map out of this nightmare for homeowners,” Senator Seery-Kearney concluded.