AON Update: New Planning Guidelines / AON & SCSI Submission

New Planning Guidelines – Good News for Apartment Management & Funding

We are pleased with the recently issued Design Standards for New Apartments – Guidelines for Planning Authorities

We worked hard in Department of Housing sessions on behalf of the Network. As a direct result of our efforts the Guidelines give greater certainty to OMCs and residents in new estates in relation to service charges, sinking funds and the effectiveness of the MUD Act.

Local Authorities are now required to include planning conditions such that a Building Life Cycle Report must be provided by the developer. To quote directly from Chapter 6.13 and 6.14-

“…planning applications for apartment developments shall include a building lifecycle report which in turn includes an assessment of long term running and maintenance costs as they would apply on a per residential unit basis at the time of application, as well as demonstrating what measures have been specifically considered by the proposer to effectively manage and reduce costs for the benefit of residents.”

“…it is advised that when granting permission for such developments planning authorities attach appropriate planning conditions that require:

• Compliance with the MUD Act,
• Establishment of an Owners Management Company (OMC) and:
• Establishment and ongoing maintenance of a sinking fund commensurate with the facilities in a development that require ongoing maintenance and renewal.”

These are significant changes for new estates. We will continue our work to effect policy and legislative change for existing estates. Other matters in the new Guidelines include improvements to bicycle parking and storage, changes to car parking, and enhancements to communal facilities.

February meeting -Thank you !!

Our most recent AON Meeting took place on 22nd February. Many thanks to all of you who attended our February meeting, a summary of which is below for your information.

We had a full house for our focus group session on all aspects of apartment living. Thanks also to the researchers engaged by the Housing Agency, including Paul Mooney of Benchmark Property.

We expect the workshop and research will feed into policy changes to improve the sector. We’ll keep you posted!

Joint Submission with SCSI

In conjunction with the SCSI we made a submission to the Review Group on the Administration of Civil Justice. It puts forward practical changes and policy proposals for-

• Better lease enforcement for the common good
• More effective/efficient service charge recovery
• Reduction in MUD Act enforcement costs
• Increased understanding of the apartment sector in the legal system

We are grateful to the SCSI for their collaboration with what we hope it is just the first of many joint efforts aimed at achieving improvements in apartment living.

Next meeting – Date To Be Confirmed

Keep an eye on the AON website, our Facebook and @ApartmentOwners on Twitter for updates about our next open meeting.

AON Team

Published 03/14/2018