Fianna Fáil have introduced a Bill to establish an Ombudsman for Owner Management Companies (OMCs). The Bill sets up the body to help in training board members, assist in dispute reconciliation and make recommendations on the future development of the sector. The Ombudsman will be based within the Property Services Regulatory Authority with an estimated running cost of €500,000 per annum.

Speaking on the Bill Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing, Darragh O’Brien TD, stated, “A recent submission by the Apartment Owners Network and the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government estimates that nearly 500,000 people live in multi-unit developments. The majority are run by Owner Management Companies. I want to pay tribute to the volunteer efforts of those involved, which are vital in achieving and maintaining quality of life in these developments.

“However, they fall between several stools currently and have no department or resources clearly backing them up. These OMCs are governed by dense company law that many are not familiar with, must adhere to strict housing regulations and deal with property rights under the Department of Justice. This Bill will provide a new body focused on assisting the sector and helping the people who run these companies for the greater good of their development.

“Key training and information as well as dispute resolution will be the core duties of the new Ombudsman. It will also help develop new policy in the area and highlight key issues of concern. As we seek to build some 35,000 new units per annum up to 2040 many of them will be run by such companies.

“We need to give them support to ensure the highest levels of governance are achieved and maintained. This Ombudsman will work for the half a million people living in these apartment blocks and estates throughout Ireland,” concluded Deputy O’Brien.