Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing, Darragh O’Brien TD has today introduced a new bill in Dáil Éireann that is aimed at establishing an Ombudsman for Owner Management Companies (OMCs).

The Ombudsman will be based within the Property Services Regulatory Authority with an estimated running cost of €500,000 per annum. This body will help in training board members, assist in dispute reconciliation and make recommendations on the future development of the housing sector.

Deputy O’Brien stated, “A recent submission made by the Apartment Owners Network and the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland to the Oireachtas Committee on Housing, estimated that nearly 500,000 people live in multi-unit developments in Ireland.

“The majority of these developments are run by Owner Management Companies.

“I very much pay tribute to the volunteer efforts of those involved in an OMC, which is essential to maintaining a high standard of living for the residents in their complex. As it stands, the Department do not provide resources to assist with their work.

“These OMCs are governed by dense company law that many residents may not familiar with, must adhere to strict housing regulations and deal with the Department of Justices’ property rights.

“The Bill I have introduced today, if passed, will provide for the establishment of a new, central body focused on supporting the sector and advising those that lead these companies for the greater good of the development they live in.

“The core duties of the Ombudsman will include assisting with dispute resolution and the provision of both key training and advice services. It will also help develop updated policy in the area and highlight key issues of concern.

“It’s been promised that 35,000 new units will be built per annum up to the year 2040 and many of these, if built, will be run by such companies that will support. It is crucial that we are proactive in ensuring the highest level of governance is achieved and maintained.

“By introducing this Bill, we are proposing that an Ombudsman is formed to work for the half a million people living in apartment complexes and estates run by Owner Management Companies throughout the country,” O’Brien concluded.