What are the differences between an Owner Management Company (OMC) and a Managing Agent?
It is important for an owner of a unit in a Multi-Unit Development to understand the clear distinction which exists between the OMC and the Management Agent. The OMC is a company which is established for the management of a Multi-Unit Development. It is structured so that ultimately it is to be exclusively owned and controlled by all the owners of the units within that complex. The Management Agent, on the other hand, as the definition in the Property Services (Regulation) Bill 2009 makes clear, is a person or company, which may be engaged by the OMC to provide services in respect of the management of a Multi-Unit Development on behalf of the OMC. Typically a Management Agent will be involved in the management of several different estates or complexes on behalf of different OMC’s.
What is the Property Service Regulatory Authority (PSRA)?
The main function of the Authority is to control & regulate Property Service Providers this includes the licensing of all
such service providers, the establishment of a complaints investigation and redress system for consumers, the
setting & enforcement of standards in the provision of property services, the administration of client accounts, the establishment
and maintenance of a compensation fund and the creation of a residential & commercial property registers.
What do I do if my Property Managing Agent is not on the list of licensed service providers?
Should you believe that a person/company is not registered, then you may make a complaint to the Property Services Regulatory Authority and the Authority can carry out an investigation into the provision of property services without the required licence.
What is the contract between a Management Company & a Managing Agent?
A Managing Agent must not provide a property service to a client without having in place a “letter of engagement” (see copies on www.psr.ie). This needs to be signed by the Managing Agent & the Management Company. Failure for the Management Agent to comply with Section 43 constitutes improper conduct which can result in the Managing Agent being fined up to €250,000 and having their licence revoked.
What is a Service Charge?
Service charges are an essential feature of Multi-Unit Developments. They provide the funding for the management of the common areas and structures which includes all conduits to services, interior and exterior structures of the building, interior and exterior common areas as well as services provided on a communal basis. In essence they are annual charges levied on the unit owners to meet the various expenses incurred by the OMC in carrying out its various functions. These range from the cost of insurance, maintenance and repair of the building to the expense of engaging Management Agents, caretakers, gardeners, professional advisers, etc.
What is a Sinking Fund?
All structures have a natural life span and it is inevitable that parts of the building in which the unit is located will wear out or cease to function. It is important therefore that all of the owners of units in a Multi-Unit Development
anticipate having to replace certain external parts of the building such as roofs and windows and internal systems such as lifts, heating systems, etc.
While the common areas of the development are vested in the OMC each unit owner, as a member of that company, co-owns the common areas and building structure and is therefore obliged to contribute to the capital cost of such long-term refurbishment, replacement and structural repairs.
The cost of such work will be substantial and will impose a very heavy financial burden on each unit owner if contingency plans have not been put in place at an early stage for the financing of such work.
Long term investment in the development is unavoidable if the value of the property is to be maintained.
To postpone such major works or fail to carry them out will ultimately lead to the development falling into such disrepair that owners may find it difficult to sell their units.
What is a Common Area?
Everything outside each owner’s property is called a common area. This covers the hallways in the apartment blocks, car parks, gardens & all outdoor areas.