Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Rights bid on apartment maintenance

Plans for tougher laws to give apartment owners more rights over building maintenance will be brought up by Kieran McCarthy

Plans for tougher laws to give apartment owners more rights over building maintenance will be brought before the Assembly.

Alliance MLA Kieran McCarthy is to introduce a Private Member's Bill that aims to support residents who pay hundreds of pounds a year to rogue housing management firms.

Mr McCarthy believes the Apartment Developments' Management Reform Bill will address current inadequacies in the laws governing aspects of private properties which comprise parts of multi-unit developments, including townhouses and apartments.

Mr McCarthy said this change would make it easier for owners to ensure their management company keeps common areas of buildings in good order.

"I have been told of apartment blocks where fire doors were not in a working manner for months and could have had disastrous consequences if a fire had broken out," he said.

"But I have also been told of the more day-to-day problems such as the grass in the common areas not being cut for months in the summer, despite a management company being paid fees to do so.

"This Bill will regularise the conditions of property ownership and management to ensure that owners know all the facts about the maintenance of the common areas and will have easier legal remedies in case they are not being kept in good order."

Mr McCarthy said the current laws are not strong enough, with many owners complaining common areas are not being well maintained despite paying high fees.

He said he wanted his Bill to give confidence to those who sign up to buy a property in a shared building to understand the contract with the management company.

"This Bill will ensure that apartment owners have better rights and will know that they can do something instead of paying hundreds of pounds a year for a service that may not be carried out to a sufficient extent," he added.

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