Transfer of Common Areas

Submitted by Aisling Keenan on Fri, 09/26/2008 - 16:57.

Property Management Companies are set up mainly to provide a forum for all owners to be represented equally and to hold title to the common areas of the development be it apartment block or housing estate.

On this topic, here is an article that has recently appeared in 'Accounting Matters'...

"Property Owner Management Companies are companies set up to hold title to common areas of apartments and housing estates. The company pays for maintenance etc. and bills this to the residents as an annual service charge. It is usual for the title to the land to vest with the developer until they have finished the development and then transfer once the development is complete. It has now become common for builders to delay transfer of the common land sometimes in the hope of further developing the land or sometimes just by oversight. This does not preclude the Property Owner Management Companies charging residents their annual service charge although it is likely that an auditor will put in an emphases of matter paragraph in their audit report drawing attention to the non transfer. Not owning the grass does not mean that you can't mow it and you certainly have an insurable interest in maintaining the property you may not technically own.

However, it is very common for the property transfer agreements to state that the builder is responsible for maintenance until the common area is transferred. For some reason this seems to have been ignored in most developments. An auditor would be minded to check the transfer agreements as there may be no basis for charging the annual service charge where the builder has held on to title to the common area and this standard clause is in the transfer agreement."

 

While the author of this article may note that "there may be no basis for charging the annual service charge" the reality is that if the owners do not pay service charges to maintain the common areas the chances are the the builders will not pay it and this will lead to a long dispute all the while the development is deteriorating and the value of the properties within are affected negatively.

 

 

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