On the 27th May 2009 the Minister published the Multi Unit Development Bill 2009 with a view to introducing reforms for the owners of existing and new apartment and multi unit residential complexes. The bill would update legislation in apartment management and ownership and significantly refocus legal protections towards owners of apartments.

The bill is currently going through Seanad Eireann.

Summary of the Multi Unit Development Bill 2009

The Bill contains proposals for a comprehensive statutory framework for multi unit development and for the governance of property management companies which own and manage the common internal and external areas of such developments. This new framework will apply not only to new developments, but to those under construction and those which have already been completed.

Some of the provisions within the bill at present are as follows –

Obligation to establish company. It includes;

  • In future, the developer of a multi unit development must establish an owners’ management company and transfer ownership of the common areas to it before any apartment is sold.
  • Duties of the company.

Annual service charges. It includes;

  • Service charges in respect of any unsold units must be paid by the developer.
  • Sinking funds.
  • An owners’ management company must establish and maintain a sinking fund for non recurring maintenance and repairs. In new multi unit developments, the fund must be set up within three years of the sale of the first unit. In existing developments, it must be set up within 18 months of enactment of the Bill. The annual contribution to the sinking fund is a matter for the apartment owners but a minimum annual charge of €200 per unit will apply.
  • House Rules.

Resolution of Disputes. It includes;

  • New court based dispute resolution mechanism which will apply to new and existing multi unit developments.
  • Amended strike-off provisions.

We are currently awaiting developments as to when the bill with any amendments will be signed into Law.