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A.K. Property Services are now a licensed Property Services Provider

Submitted by Aisling Keenan on Sat, 03/02/2013 - 16:00.

A.K. Property Services wish to announce that we are duly authorised by the Property Services Regulatory Authority to lawfully provide property management services. Having applied for our licence in July 2012 we have, just this week been issued with our licence. Licence No. 001442.

Unpaid Service Charges: An Unfair Burden on Compliant Property Owners

Submitted by Aisling Keenan on Tue, 04/03/2012 - 10:45.



The successful working of a management company is dependent upon the co-operation of all members. Without this there is an imbalance of responsibility, as is the case with the significant number of property owners who are neglecting to pay their service charges, placing an additional financial burden on compliant property owners who participate in their management company. The Multi-Unit Development Act 2011 promised further protection for property owners, however no amount of legislation or mediation will recover debts due by bankrupt property owners in the short-term.

Fifteen years ago apartments were a relatively new phenomenon in Ireland. As the addiction to property took hold, apartments in which the operation and maintenance of the structure and grounds are overseen by a management company were purchased in multiples by investors, many of whom are now delinquent in their duties as members of these management companies. These duties include the legal obligation to pay the annual service charge that goes toward the smooth running and maintenance of the property. This obligation is increasingly difficult for the compliant property owners saddled with the additional burden of new taxes introduced in the government’s recent budgets and austerity packages.

The situation is further exacerbated as there is little or no recourse for the compliant property owner. With the exodus of the property developer from almost all sites around the country, including finished and unfinished developments, property owners have had to put their hands in their own pockets to ensure basic and necessary utilities are provided and common areas are finished to acceptable standards. These abandoned responsibilities include finishing installations of the sewerarge treatment plants, laying tarmac surfaces and landscaping. In addition to these unexpected costs, now property owners are forced to contend with the legacy of debt in their management company by the reckless investor. 

An apartment block in a small and vibrant country town with 30 apartments built under the Section 23 Tax Relief Scheme in 2005 attracted such wayward investors. The town was home to hundreds of young foreign construction works all looking for rented accomodation. One investor borrowed 100% of the finance and paid circa €200,000 per apartment. Services Charges were paid in the first year as this was a condition of sale. But for six years now this property owner has not paid any service charges. Once the econonmic crisis hit and the construction work dried up, the workers left the town leaving behind them an excess of vacant property combined with the oversupply of newly constructed developments. Today these apartments lie vacant, in such a 'Section 23' location. The recent census results showed that this region has the highest overall property vacancy rate in the country with over 30% of property vacant. 

To complicate matters even further, the above investor is ‘in NAMA’. What does ’in NAMA’ mean to property owners in this apartment block who are funding this investor’s unpaid service charge bill that currently stands at 100% of the annual budget. ‘In NAMA’ means nothing to them. There is no accountability or allowance ‘in NAMA’ for unpaid service charges. We have received correspondence from NAMA advising us that they are not responsible or accountable for service charges on properties. Service charges do not fall within their brief. Instaed they fall on the doorstep of the compliant property owner. They are picking up the tab. Of the other 25 apartments there are ten owners, one of whom is also in arrears for the past five years and is currently unemployed. The other nine property owners struggle to keep the bills for the entire development paid. The entire budget to manage the development annually, including a 10% sinking fund, is approximately €35,000.

Of course unpaid services charges is only one challenge within the wider torrent of issues that property developers have left in their wake. On top of management company finances, there are unfinished housing estates with unfinished roads all across Ireland, and no amount of government legislation will change this. It is only an improvement in economic conditions in the country that will see changes in this area. The economy may have hit the dirt road but it’s the bumps and potholes that are shaking us to the core.



PROPERTY INVESTOR - In today's Irish Times, Aisling Keenan speaks out on the Governments new Multi-Unit Developments Act 2011

Submitted by Aisling Keenan on Thu, 04/28/2011 - 08:21.

Pat Igoe writes for the Irish Times as follows: 

New laws set clearer rules for apartment management companies - but managing agents are still not regulated.

Expect the figures from Census 2011, when they become available, to confirm what most of us suspect - that apartment living has taken a serious hold in modern Ireland. The most-quoted figure of 500,000 people now living in apartments may even be an under-estimate. 

Many apartment owners are now increasingly worried about the management of their developments and the financing of necessary services, such as grass-cutting and essential repairs. It is for this reason that the new statutory protections in place since April 1st for apartment owners and dwellers are already being carefully watched for results.

It is widely agreed that the Multi-Unit Developments Act 2011 will help the increasingly troubled apartment residential sector. Only weeks into the new legislation, its beneficial effects are already being noticed.

But it is a case of only two cheers. Despite the broad reach of the new law, managing agents, who may be engaged by the management companies to operate the day-to-day running of apartment complexes, are still unregistered and unregulated. This is widely recognised as a major exposure, even if it is one that is due to be soon closed.

If an annual service charge of €500 per apartment is taken as an average figure (and some apartment complexes go as high as €2,500 per year), the annual sums passing from apartment owners to managing agents is clearly in excess of €50 million. It is a case of so far, so honest.

"The new law is already helping because it sets clearer standards for apartment developments and give apartment owners control over their own developments" according to Aisling Keenan of AK Property Services. Paul Mooney of the Irish Property and Facilities Management Association (IPFMA) agrees. He says that "the door is more open than ever for people to take control of their own apartment complexes".

There has been a significant increase reported in the past few weeks since April 1st in enquiries from apartment owners about what they and their management companies must do to comply with the new law. They are being told: they must set-up meaningful sinking funds, with seperate bank accounts, to pay for necessary improvements or maintenance; house rules will have full legal enforcement in the Circuit Court; any new budgetary proposals will not proceed if 75 percent of votes at the compulsory annual general meeting are against them; and that there is a new mechanism for resolving disputes including the use of mediation.

But it is the dispute procedures in the new law, including access to the Circuit Court, that is already getting a lot of attention. Sadly, this is because of unprecedented difficulties in collecting the annual service charges from apartment owners. I is now a "massive problem", according to one agent.

Non-payment of the annual charge is leading to problems with providing services, such as cutting grass and maintaining accounts. Earlier this year managing agent CBRE was reported to have threatened to withdraw its services from an apartment complex in Sandyford, Co. Dublin because of unpaid management charges by apartment owners. This case is by no means unique.

Since coming into operation on April 1st, the act has been closely examined, in particular section 24. It provides that the management company (which is owned by all apartment owners) and the individual apartment owners are entitled to apply to the Circuit Court for an order enforcing any rights. The court must be told whether mediation has been attempted.

The new law points to greater transparency, but also to greater regulation. The Law Society is expected to give solicitors tighter audit rules to chartered accountants on monies passing through the accounts of managing agents. 

Rubbish collection, repairing roofs, maintaining car parks, mowing lawns or paying insurance.... these services must all be paid for or they will be disconnected. Realistic enforcement of the annual management charges payable by apartment owners is already being seen as the first real test of the new legislation. 





Submitted by Aisling Keenan on Fri, 12/17/2010 - 08:55.

The Government is currently working on bringing into law the new Multi-Unit Development Bill. This bill provides for a comprehensive and streamlined statutory framework for the regulation of our industry, encompassing protection for property owners and service providers alike. 

Currently we are operating in an unregulated environment and this has its challenges including resistance from property owners and developers to meet their obligations. It will also provide for improved standards of consumer protection. 

We look forward to regulation that will set clear standards and provide a legal framework for us to work within.

This Multi-Unit Development Bill  has completed Committee Stage in October 2010. It constitutes an important element of  the Government's strategy to address problems arising in relation to the management of property in this country. 

All auctioneers, letting agents and property management agents will now require a licence to operate within the industry.

To keep up to date, follow our blog on this where we will continue with regular and updated posts.



Property Services Regulation Bill 2009

Submitted by Aisling Keenan on Fri, 12/03/2010 - 10:30.

Deputy Dermot Ahern introduced the Property Services (Regualtion) Bill 2009 to the Dáil on 9th November 2010.

Laws on Apartments are as clear as MUD

Submitted by Aisling Keenan on Mon, 02/15/2010 - 11:41.

A recent article in The Irish Times highlighted the significant amendments needed to the draft Multi-Unit Developments (MUD) Bill 2009, prior to its enactment into legislation.

"A MINIMUM of snagging by developers means that service charges are being used by apartment owners to make good their estates. That was one of the stark findings heard by delegates at last weekend’s IPFMA Conference, which was chaired by Siobhan O’Dwyer of O’Dwyer Property Management. The industry gathering of the Irish Property Facility Management Association also heard reports that there were serious flaws in the manner in which fire safety systems are being completed and certified or, in many cases, not completed or certified.

Equally worrying for apartment owners, legal experts identified a complete lack of assurances and entitlement for legal remedy or recourse by the purchaser against the developer in the event that defects occur.

The conference followed on from a recent IPFMA submission to government, which called for significant amendments to the draft Multi-Unit Developments (MUD) Bill 2009, prior to its enactment into legislation.

The IPFMA welcomes the advent of the new Bill but believes that its legislative proposals are not sufficiently all encompassing and do not go far enough to protect owners of future multi-unit developments by providing an effective and workable legal framework. As the organisation is made up of professionals working on the ground, including property managers, surveyors and engineers, who spend their working days dealing with problems in new apartment blocks, their opinions are certainly worth listening to."

The Irish Times, Thursday October 8th 2009.

Cúil na Canálach Awarded Best Private Housing Development at Zurich LAMA Awards 2010

Submitted by Aisling Keenan on Tue, 02/09/2010 - 14:36.

A.K. Property Services is delighted to announce that Cúil na Canálach has just been awarded the "Best Private Housing Development" award for 2010 at the Zurich LAMA Awards.

Situated adjacent to the former Grand Canal at Pollboy, Ballinasloe, County Galway, Cúil na Canálach, which is managed by AK Property Services, is an exclusive new architecturally designed development of stunning houses and apartments.

Cúil na Canálach incorporates the luxurious warmth of timber frame construction with the stylish tough exterior of rendered block work, with cut stone cills and lintels and each home having its own private balcony.

The Zurich Lama Awards provide an opportunity to acknowledge projects in construction, engineering, and infrastructure.

Having revamped and revised this years categories to better reflect climate conditions, and further support its nominees, the Zurich LAMA Awards provided a positive opportunity to commend individuals, initiatives, and projects of benefit to the community.

The Zurich Lama Awards took place on the 30th January at the Burlington Hotel. The annual awards showcased the best projects and companies in communities across Ireland.

Over 450 guests were in attendance on the night at which Miriam O'Callaghan was MC and Minister Michael Finneran, Minister for Housing and Local Services was guest of honour.

Just some of the reasons why Cúil na Canálach is "The Best Private Housing Development" 

•Architecturally designed to maximise living areas & natural light

•Excellent energy rating as standard

•Timberframe construction

•Integrated sun lounges to three and four bed homes

•Exceptionally landscaped site incorporating canal walks and existing maturetrees

•Black uPCV windows with low E glass to all glazing

•Natural gas heating / cooking

 Congratulations to all involved!

PSRA - Property Services Regulatory Authority

Submitted by Aisling Keenan on Fri, 10/30/2009 - 15:21.

We have recently received long awaited correspondance from the PSRA regarding impending licensing and regulation of our industry. We have been advsied of the Review Group's recommendation for the establishment of the PSRA to take over responsibility, from the Courts and Revenue Commissioners, for the licensing and regulation of Property Services Providers (PSP's).

The Government, in accepting the Review Group's recommendation, decided to establish the Authority on a statutory basis and the necessary legislation began its progress through the Oireachtas in May of this year. 

Pending enactment of the legislation, the Minister for justice, Equality and Law Reform set up an Implementation Group to assist and advise on practical matters relating to the establishment of the new body. The Group has identified a number of issues which it considers can be addressed in advance of the Authority being established on a statutory basis. One such issue is the identification of those PSP's who have not been subject to licensing up to now. 

The definition provided in the proposed legislation will mean that licensing will be extended to include Residential Property Management Agents as well as Auctioneers, Estate Agents ( House Agents) and Letting Agents. The Authority carried out an exercise to compile a list of those who it believes will potentially require to be licensed under the proposed legislation. 

A.K. Property Services welcomes this proposed legislation. 'We look forward to working within an industry with enforced standards and continued education and training. We see this as an opportunity,-  it sets clear standards in respect of the services that we provide, which in turn helps to build consumer confidence.'

'We believe that consumers are entitled to expect a high and consistent level of service from our profession and that we are entitled to compete on a level playing field. Regulation is the best way of ensuring delivery of these expectations.'

Publication of New Multi Unit Developments BIll

Submitted by Aisling Keenan on Mon, 06/08/2009 - 17:27.

In our recent bolgs we have discussed the issues that have finally been dealt with in the publication of this new Multi-Unit Developments Bill. This new Bill will particularly benefit apartment owners.

In a statement issued by the National Consumer Agency, Ann Fitzgerald has said "With more and more consumers living in multi-unit developments, we have long been aware of the need for regulation of the industry."

"The publication of the bill represents a good day for consumers as many Irish owners of multi-unit properties have found themselves in difficult positions arising from the poor operation and management of their developments. The Bill will serve to empower them to have a greater say in the way in which their developments are managed and administered."

She went on to say, "From a consumer perspective there are a number of key areas adressed in the Bill including the transfer of the common areas to the ownership of the Owners' Management Company, changes in voting rights, transparency in the calculation of service charges and the requirement to create a sinking fund."

Key Areas Addressed in the Bill of Benefit to Consumers : 

1. Transfer of common areas & extinguishment of beneficial interests: The Bill provides a schedule for the transfer of the common areas to the ownership of the Owners' Management Company and, most importantly, for the extinguishment of the Developer's beneficial interest on completion of the development. This clarity is most welcome in delays in transfer of ownership and of beneficial interests in Common Areas have proven a particularly thorny issue for Multi-Unit Developments Owners.

2. Voting: The Bill provides that votes shall be allocated on a single vote per unit basis. This should obviate previous difficulties relating to 'golden votes' being held by Developers. However, the Bill makes no provisions for the voting rights of tenants. 

3. Service Charges: The Bill provides for clear iteration of cost categories to be included in the calculation of the service charge and a formal process, through a general meeting of the Owners Management Company, for the approval of such service charges. 

4. Sinking Funds: The Bill establishes a statutory requirement to create a Sinking Fund. The National Consumer Agency particularly welcomes this as a means of preserving and protecting the long term interests of Unit Owners as developments age and may require works more substantial than mere care and maintenance".


Submitted by Aisling Keenan on Sat, 01/17/2009 - 10:32.

A new publication from ODCE called 'Company Law Handbook on Residential Property Owners' Management Companies' is now available from their website at the following link:

The aim of the handbook is to provide a general guide to issues relating to the governance of residential property owners' management companies.

The handbook is written from the perspective of the ODCE which is a statutory agency whose remit includes that of encouraging compliance with company law.

The ODCE hopes that the handbook will be a useful resource for a variety of persons concerned with management companies, especially - 

a) the owners or occupiers of houses or apartments located within multi-unit developments where a management company is involved in issues such as the ownership and control of common areas and the provision of common services in respect of those areas.

b)persons contemplating the purchase of such properties.

c)persons connected with the central management of management companies, e.g. their directors, and persons (such as managing agents) who are engaged by management companies to deal with day-to-day management tasks.

d) the developers of multi-unit developments.

e) solicitors and accountants, who from time to time find themselves called upon to give professional advice to management companies.