Irish Times Property Clinic 9th day of July 2015.

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Publishing Date; Thursday the 9th day of July 2015. Q I’m in the process of buying a Celtic Tiger apartment, one of a small block. All are currently empty, but in good condition. How does one get a management company set up where all owners are members? Is this our job or the vendor’s? The common areas will have to be maintained and insured: garden, roof, outside structural walls, gutters, drains, etc, and this needs to be jointly funded. I’m concerned. A. I will take your meaning that no unit has yet been sold. It would be a very unwise decision to purchase a property from a development that does not comply with the Multi-Unit Developments Act 2011, as it should not legally be possible to do so. A competent solicitor will be aware and should advise you that you cannot purchase a unit within an owners’ management company (OMC) unless section three of the Act has been implemented in full. Not only will you require legal counsel on this issue but my experience is that you will also need guidance from a suitably qualified property manager about the practical aspects of living in a development where unsold units remain. In this case I would be mindful of the service charge budget as this can be set by the OMC in the absence of any member where there isnone yet. Commercial costing of budgets for OMCs set by the vendor could be disproportionately set in favour of the vendor as the less the vendor is liable to pay in service charges for vacant units each year until the development is sold the greater their profit will be and the more appealing the cost of living may appear. The Multi-Unit Developments Act 2011 precedent pre-contract inquiries replies are sent from the vendor’s solicitor to your solicitor. This process is a due diligence investigation on the quality of the property. I would highly recommend that the replies are inclusive of the OMC’s agent comments where possible. A completed reply may not indicate to you how long the vendor is in a position to pay all the service charges for the vacant units in the event the market cools and indeed who drafted the budget and their qualification and their interest. In a perfect world, all the units would be sold on the same day, with a budget that is drafted by a suitably qualified property service provider and where the budget is cognisant of a building investment fund report for a 20-year period to ensure the sinking fund contributions are realistic and sustainable. Paul Huberman is a chartered property and facilities management surveyor and a member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI)