Tag Archives | IHBA

First groceries, now management companies – the useless NCA strikes again!

The National Consumer Agency recently communicated the publication of their “Guide to Buying and Living in a Multi-Unit Development Property in Ireland”. According to the Chief Executive of the fuckers* Ann Fitzgerald:

“We trust that they will be of great use and benefit to consumers in identifying and working through their commitments and responsibilities in terms of management companies”.

Ms. Fitzgerald also said:

“Rather than wait for the legislation to come through, we wanted to work immediately to provide consumers with as much information as possible to clearly communicate the scope of the commitment in which they engage when buying into a multi-unit development”.

So, we have an organisation, the fuckers* at the National Consumer Agency, who is becoming widely ridiculed for publishing pointless useless research rather than doing anything concrete and are now sticking their oar into the waters which is supposed to managed by the equally useless National Property Services Regulatory Authority (NPSRA).

Rather than doing serious and effective work in their own realm of consumer affairs, the fuckers* are now deciding that they want to do an equally useless and half arsed job in the area of property management companies.

And trust me, having read their new guide, it truly is a waste of time. This guide is intended to “supplement and enhance” a document they provided previously in December 2006, as well as being significantly similar to documentation provided by the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement. And all this documentation is being provided in advance of the NPSRA getting it’s full authority from the government, and presumably commissioning it’s own reports and producing it’s own version of all this same documentation.

Are you confused yet? You live in an apartment with a management company and a management agent, and you’ve got problems – which of these three regulators do you actually go to get help from?

  • The National Consumer Agency – nope, they’re only providing guidance documents.
  • The Office of Director of Corporate Enforcement – nope, as I’ve personally found, they won’t do anything.
  • How about the National Property Service Regulatory Authority – nope, they don’t actually have any powers.
Therefore, we have three government agencies all getting involved in the area of management companies and management agencies, yet none of them will help you with any of the following problems (which are the most common difficulties raised that I’ve read about):
  1. My management company have set a service charge for the following year of 60% more than the previous year, with no extra services provided. How can they justify such fees, or are they just ripping us off?
  2. My management company are taking our service charges and paying the management agent who’re not actually providing the services they’re contracted to provide. What can I do to get my value for money?
  3. The developer of my apartment complex won’t hand over the complex to the residents, even though the complex has been finished for two years? I know they still own two apartments in order to stay on the management company. How can we get control moved to the residents?
  4. The NCA paperwork says that boards of a management company shouldn’t have a management structure set to favour the development at the expense of the residents. Yet, most of them are set up that way. Why don’t these useless regulators do something to prevent that instead of pussy-footing around the issues by producing reams of documentation.
  5. Why are the fuckers* endorsing the Irish Home Builders Association Code of Practice for Management Companies which I’ve discussed here before. This code of practice only applies to any management companies created after September 2008. Any management companies that exist at the moment are not subject to these so for most people they’re not relevant at all. And since there’s shag all being built at the moment, they won’t apply to anyone in the future either.

There we have three useless regulators and not a bit of help for the poor unfortunate consumer. What a waste of our money!

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Builders associations preempting the NPSRA

I see from this article, Management rip-offs targeted, by Paul Melia in todays Irish Independent that the Irish Home Builders Association (a part of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF)) has proposed it’s own version of self-regulation within the area of apartment management companies.

This, it would seem, is an attempt by the CIF to preempt the provision of statutory enforcement powers to the National Property Services Regulatory Authority (NPSRA). I’ve already written many times about how I don’t hold out much hope for the NPSRA. Then again, we’re being told how bad it is that other professions (such as law professionals) have their own self-regulation. What makes us think that this idea is going to be any better in the building industry?

According to the article:

DEVELOPERS who refuse to hand over control of management companies to residents face being fined and named and shamed by their colleagues.

The CIF through the IHBA are proposing to facilitate this self-regulation through a new code of practice which, according to the article will tell:

how management companies in apartment blocks should be run (and will say that) residents should be told up to three years in advance what their annual service charge will be.

The code … sets out clear guidelines aimed at overturning suspicions that they are being ripped-off by their management companies.

I’m guessing the last part of that statement is the opinion of the journalist rather than the specific contents of the code.

I can’t find any mention of the code of conduct on the CIF website (never mind trying to find any details on the IHBA itself). I wouldn’t hold out much hope that anything is going to come from this.

Here a thing then. If the IHBA name, shame and fine a prominent fully paid up member of the CIF for being in contravention of this new code of conduct, I’ll match personally match 100% of that fine and donate it to a charity for the homeless.

Addition – thanks to this article in SiliconRepublic.Com.

  • This code of conduct will only apply to management companies set up for developments built by IHBA members AFTER MAY 15th 2008. So, every management company that exists at the moment will be exempt from this new code of conduct. (Page 2, second paragraph)

What’s the bloody point?

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