Tag Archives | management agents

Management Company Issues – ODCE might have to act for once

Lately, I received a few e-mails from a reader who was having problems with their management company. Have a read through:

I just wanted to ask you about what you said on the site about MA’s – “The Office of Director of Corporate Enforcement – nope, as I’ve personally found, they won’t do anything.”

I’m having a problem with my MA currently, are the ODCE really as useless as you say and do you know any official route to report problems with a MA with?

This was my first response. There wasn’t really enough information – plus, as sometimes happens, there seems to have been some confusion between the management agent and the management company.

Without knowing the details, if your problem is specifically with a managing agent, then the ODCE do not have any responsibilities at all.

They claim to only have responsibilities with regards to the specific legalities if jow a management company is run – though that’s where I found them unwilling to act and therefore ultimately useless.

There is unfortunately no regulator in place to oversee the running of a managing agent.

The only way to try to address any issues is to work with them directly.

The reader followed up with a further e-mail indicating that they actually did have a problem with the management company, and that, even though this should fall within the remit of the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, they again said that it wasn’t their problem.

Thanks for your response. I contacted the ODCE and they told me the same.

However, what happened in our development is a few residents, who were runnning the residents committee, became directors of the management company (nominated themselves, and then seconded), fired the previous management agent and appointed themselves the management agent – I have very sketchy info about how they did this. Indeed, only a few months previous to this, they had put themselves up in front of members to be voted as the new MA and were rejected, but seemed to have found some way (legal or not) to take over.

These residents who are now in charge are themselves employed in the property industry, which I also find is a conflict of interest (they let apartments in the development and seem to prioritise the needs of renters).

Again, there is a little blurring of the lines here between the management agents and the management company. A management agent is normally a company appointed by the management company who would carry out all the maintenance and repairs on an estate.

It is possible for a management company to take on these responsibilities themselves – they can hire the gardeners, arrange for the bins to be collected, and so on – without the need for a management agent company. So, there’s nothing wrong with this.

Nor, given how Ireland operates in general, would there be anything wrong with the directors of the management company being involved otherwise in the property industry – as long as they are entitled to be members of the management company in the first place – i.e. they own properties in the development.

Where I would follow up in this situation is to get clarity from the management company as to how these particular individuals took over and became directors of the management company- i.e. how was the estate handed over by the developers to these individuals.

All information on this takeover of the management company will need to have been minuted at management company board meetings – including any terms of the handover.

If this information isn’t readily available from the current management company directors, then this is definitely something that the ODCE would be responsibility to assist the rest of the members (shareholders) of the management company i.e. the rest of the residents.

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The key question about Management Companies

It’s a week or so now when there were a number 0f calls to Joe Duffy about management company issues. You can find a lot of similar sentiments raised on the Management Company forum on AskAboutMoney.com – problems with with management companies and management agents. The National Consumer Agency have even provided a website that you can reference to find out more.

However, the key question with regards to all of this is:

Are you and your fellow residents in control of your management company – has it been handed over by the developer to the residents?

Yes, we are

If you are in control of your management company, then happy days – you have full control over what your management fees will be and who your management agent is and what they should be doing for you as residents. In fact, if you’re in charge of your management company, you could even decide that you don’t need management agents if you can get a strong enough group of people to carry out the agents tasks instead. You could simply change your management agents to another company if you’re not happy.

No, we’re not

Then tough! It’s most likely that you have no control at all. If the developer of your estate is still in charge of the estate, and therefore the management company, you’re most likely going to be outvoted at any management company AGMs. Like where I live, the developer maintains a block vote that will always outvote the wishes of the residents – even if every resident did show up to an AGM and voted together.
Even getting rid of the management agents in this scenario is likely to be impossible. Chances are, as in the case of where I’m living, the management agent and the developers that are in control of the management company are very closely tied together. One would never agree to the other being changed.

Holding back on management fee payments isn’t really an option either – your contract to purchase your home includes a clause that you’ll continue paying whatever management fee is charged.

So, what can you do?

If you’re in control of your management company, you can pretty much do what you like.

If you’re not, then you’re pretty much at the mercy of the developers and their management agent buddies.

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