Frequently Asked Questions
What is an estate or block management company?
All common parts and services within any complex, not belonging to or the responsibility of a specific person, must be vested in a body or owner’s management company. These common areas may be internal and/or external. The company has responsibilities to all the members to ensure that the common parts are maintained to a high standard for the enjoyment of all concerned.
The full responsibilities of the company are outlined in the company’s Memorandum and Articles of Association, and in the Management Agreements attaching to the Title documents.
All owners individually have co-responsibility to the company to perform certain obligations as set out in the Management Agreements, including payment of service charges.
What is the difference between a Management Company and a Managing agent.
The management company is made up of members who own a unit in a Multi-Unit Development. The members appoint a director team, who will work on a voluntary basis, to manage the common areas on their behalf. The directors appoint a licensed managing agent to act on behalf of the management company and carry out the day to day running of the development.
How do I become a Director of the Management Company?
To become a Director of a management company you must put your name forward at an Annual General Meeting. Your nomination must then be voted on by other members of the management company.
What are my responsibilities as an Owner’s Management Company Director.
It is the role of the directors to act in a voluntary capacity in the best interests of all the members of the management company. These responsibilities include ensuring compliance with all statutory and regulatory obligations on behalf of the management company. The directors instruct the managing agent to carry out works on their behalf. We at DPM are happy to provide transparency to all directors and accounts are available at any time in PDF or Excel format. DPM are happy to advise directors on possible solutions or scenarios to any particular issues that may arise.
Am I legally obliged to pay Service Charges?
Service charges are not an optional payment if they are part of the terms and conditions of your contract to buy the unit. Once you conclude the contract, you have an ongoing legal obligation to pay these charges, usually on an annual basis. So, make sure your solicitor explains these obligations. Not paying may leave you open to legal action, and any outstanding debts can be tied to your property.
What is a Sinking Fund.
A proportion of the Annual Service Charge is put aside for the replacement of major common-area items, i.e. roof, lift, window/door replacement. The amount will depend on the size of the development and is paid as part of the Annual Service Charge. This Fund is important as it helps to minimize the impact of unplanned high-cost maintenance. General repairs like lights, locks, fire extinguishers and landscaping would not be included.
Can the information held by the Management Company be made available to the public or other residents?
Certain information is considered public information such as your membership of a management company. Information on all companies is available to view on a company’s register of members. Your financial or personal details cannot however be made available to the public, tenants or to anyone whose name is not on the lease or who is not a designated point of contact.
What are Service Charges and how are they calculated?
Service charges are the annual fees that property owners pay for services provided by their housing or apartment development’s management company. These pay for the upkeep of common areas, such as repairs and running costs (e.g. electricity, lifts) for these areas, and may cover other services such as refuse collection or landscaping. Most management companies use an “apportionment” method to decide the individual service charge; this is usually in accordance with the governing documents of the company.
This method factors in the size and type of unit in calculating what percentage of the overall service charge bill is owed by each home owner.
How long is the Service Charge payable for?
As long as you own the property, you pay an annual service charge. Once the property is sold, the new owner is responsible for the payment of the service charge. All arrears/outstanding fees must be cleared before a sale will be completed by the OMC.
Will the Service Charge fee be the same amount every year?
Not necessarily, it will depend on how much work needs to be carried out in the development i.e. preventative maintenance such as treating timber work, interior and exterior painting. These items along with the budget are agreed upon by directors and approved at the AGM.
How can I pay my Service Charge Fee?
Service charges can be paid in several ways. DPM accept card payment from all major credit cards and debit cards. We also accept payment by cheque or bank transfer and standing order.
What repairs and maintenance is the management company responsible for?
The management company is responsible for repairs and maintenance to the common areas only. The management company is not responsible for any repairs and maintenance works inside your apartment/house. However, if you require works to be carried out in your property you can contact DPM who will have a list of reputable and licensed contractors who are familiar with your development should you require assistance.
What are House Rules.
The House Rules are a set of regulations for living in a multi-unit development that all residents must adhere to. The rules are laid out in the Head Lease signed by all members on close of sale.