What are House Rules?
If you live in an apartment block, or another type of multi-unit development, there will usually be ‘house rules’ for the development. House rules usually seek to regulate issues such as noise, whether you can keep pets, whether you can hang laundry from balconies or if you can install a satellite dish. When you buy your property and sign the contract, you are in effect legally agreeing to obey these rules. Before you buy, you should talk to your solicitor about the terms and conditions of the house rules.
Can I refurbish my apartment?
OMC (Owner Management Company) leases generally provide that owners cannot alter the external appearance of their unit without prior consent in writing of the OMC. Where an owner contacts the PMA (Property Management Agent) to advise that they wish to alter the exterior of their unit and are seeking permission from the OMC, they will be requested to submit detailed drawings, specifications, contractor details, insurance details and a method statement for review by the OMC. The PMA will advise the OMC to consult with a suitably qualified professional, if considered appropriate, in relation the proposal prior to consent.
The OMC directors and the PMA will review the title document to ascertain the extent of the powers of the OMC to refuse permission to carry out alterations as most leases provide that consent cannot be unreasonably withheld.
Owners may also require written consent from the OMC if they intend carrying out internal alterations which may alter the compartmentalisation of the apartment thus affecting the fire strategy of the building. Again, owners should be requested to submit detailed drawings, specifications, contractor details, insurance details and a method statement for review by the OMC and if required the OMC should consult with a suitably qualified professional in relation to the proposal prior to consent.
The OMC should seek legal advice as to how a permission to alter is to be evidenced in writing to protect the OMC and the Unit Owner into perpetuity.
Where can I find legislation?
The Multi Unit Developments Act 2011 came into effect on the 1st April 2011. The aim of the act is to regulate the ownership and management of the common areas of multi unit developments i.e. hallways, stairwells, outdoor areas etc. The act also provides for the establishment of Owner Management Companies (OMC’s) to manage such areas.
A multi unit development refers to a development where there is at least 5 residential units with shared facilities, amenities and services. The majority of multi unit developments are apartment complexes, however the Act also covers groups of houses that share common facilities and that have an Owners Management Company in place.
The Act also offers some provisions regarding multi unit developments with two to four residential units and to mixed residential and commercial developments to a certain extent.
Further information of the MUD Act 2011 can be found here.
The PSRA was established by the Government in 2012. The objective of the PSRA is to control and regulate all Property Service Providers (PSP’s) in Ireland i.e. Auctioneer’s, Estate Agent’s, Property Management Agents etc. Under the Property Services (Regulation) Act 2011, all PSP’s must be licenced in order to operate. The PSRA also offers a dispute service where they receive complaints relating to PSP’s and carry out investigations in relation to these complaints. Further information on the PSRA and on the Property Services (Regulation) Act 2011 can be found here.