The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland recently carried out a survey which revealed that the vast majority of apartment developments in Ireland have not set aside adequate funds for maintenance and refurbishment.

Capital that has been set aside for essential maintenance works such as fire safety and water supply infrastructure or to invest in the quality of the property is known as a sinking fund.

A new bill drafted by Fianna Fáil’s Housing Spokesperson, Darragh O’Brien TD is aimed at strengthening the provision of sinking funds for multi-unit developments to ensure that apartment owners have adequate access to funds for maintenance works.

Speaking ahead of introducing the bill in the Dáil next week, Deputy O’Brien said, “The findings of the survey conducted by the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland has exposed how few managers have access to funding to initiate essential maintenance works in the apartment buildings under their management.

“In light of this, we need to strengthen the existing law in this sector because as these apartment blocks get older they will obviously require more investment. Our bill will outline very clearly who precisely has responsibility to properly establish a sinking fund in a given development and to provide regular updates on its use.

“We very well may be experiencing shortages in housing of almighty proportions but it’s important too that we act on the failure to provide for works in existing blocks so that they meet proper health and safety standards.

“This bill also compliments an earlier bill I introduced to support owner management companies by creating a new ombudsman to assist them in their work.

“Despite over 500,000 people living in multi-unit developments, their rights are often overlooked. The Government needs to support the passage of this bill in order to safeguard the future quality and safety of apartment developments across the country,” he concluded.