Renewed call for apartment law reform in Ireland

Press Release of 12 June 2020

The Apartment Owners’ Network calls on parties involved in government formation to implement the recommendations of three recent reports affecting the apartment sector.

Saturday 20 June 2020 marks a year since the publication of ‘Owners’ Management Companies- Sustainable apartment living for Ireland’, a report jointly commissioned by The Housing Agency and Clúid Housing.  Its recommendations are international best practice for regulation and support of Irish residential management companies.

Sunday 14 June 2020 marks the third anniversary of the fire at Grenfell Tower, London.

In May 2018 the Irish Department of Housing’s Fire Safety Task Force reported

The issues in relation to fire safety in apartment buildings may reflect a broader problem in relation to funding of apartment management companies, where there may be significant levels of non-payment of service charges. Without the funding streams from their service charges, Owner Management Companies may be severely limited in their capacity to maintain existing fire protection facilities, let alone to review or tackle other fire safety issues.

Efficient and timely recovery of service charges in apartment blocks needs to be facilitated, so that funding is available to maintain, enhance and replace fire protection facilities.

The Task Force recommended:

  • Fire services to offer training on key life safety issues to management company directors.
  • Efficient and timely recovery of service charges in apartment blocks needs to be facilitated, so that funding is available to maintain, enhance and replace fire protection facilities.

The Apartment Owners’ Network recognises work by fire authorities, local councils, The Housing Agency, and professional bodies, to improve safety and governance in the sector.  Welcome as are these efforts, they do not go far enough.

The Network renews its calls on political parties involved in government formation to deliver on the recommendations of these reports.  We call for the implementation of the recommendations of the ‘Safe as Houses?’ All-Party Oireachtas Housing Committee report of January 2018.

Network Director Bryan Maher said, “The widespread extent of fire safety defects in apartments in Ireland is well-documented.  As a country, in our opinion, we have been relatively fortunate in avoiding a significant fire incident.

Implementation of the recommendations of these three reports will bring Ireland into line with sound practices and systems in countries with a longer history of apartment living. It is past time that our regulatory system caught up with best practice.”, Maher said.

We call for action from those who would govern.”, he added.