AKC News // New guide targets apartment dwellers

A new guide and dedicated website have been launched to provide practical information for people living in or planning to buy apartments.

The National Consumer Agency (NCA) says the guide and website, www.consumerproperty.ie, provide comprehensive information and tips on consumers' rights for more than 270,000 apartment dwellers.

Among the areas covered are legal terms, management companies and agents, service charges, sinking funds, functions of developers, snagging, insurance and fire safety. The guide and website deal with the responsibilities and administration of management companies, particularly in relation to their obligations under law.

A code of practice for developers agreed between the NCA and the Irish Home Builders Association is included. Three years ago, the NCA called for the urgent introduction of legislation to provide greater legal protection for apartment dwellers, but this has yet to happen. This followed controversies over service charge hikes, the handover of finished blocks and a lack of information for tenants and unit owners.

The guide, Buying and Living in a Multi-Unit Development Property in Ireland, is available in booklet format or as a download.

"The NCA carried out extensive research into the sector two years ago, which threw up a number of issues, not least of which was a demonstrable lack of awareness among consumers of their rights and responsibilities when buying or living in an apartment," chief executive Ann Fitzgerald said.

Source: Paul Cullen, Consumer Affairs Correspondent in The Irish Times

Date : 24-09-2008