Apartment Management Company Nightmare in Priory Hall

Apartment Management Company Nightmare

Imagine being a director or member of an apartment management company that has resident firemen on the premises 24/7 as the 187 apartment complex, Priory Hall at Donaghmede in the North side of Dublin is considered a "very serious emergency" and the High Court duly made an evacuation order which was sought by Dublin City Council with a stay on the order till Monday.

How do you move 187 people from their homes in this timescale?

What are their rights? What if you don't have two or €3000 upfront to pay one month rent in advance and come up with references and at least €1000 deposit to your new landlord and the expense of moving out changing services such as your sky subscription, broadband, your post, and the "general inconvenience"! Something like this would take weeks or months to properly organise depending on your work schedule

So, have some sympathy for the officials in Dublin City Council who now have over the weekend to find alternative accommodation for those living at the Priory Hall apartments whilst essential remedial work is carried out and could take over for weeks. The president of the High Court, Mr Justice Kearns heard evidence from a Fire Safety inspector that the external walls would have to be removed from the structure in order to render it safe and hinted that the 187 apartment complex might have to be demolished unless this task was properly carried out immediately

This case should send alarm bells to developers of such complexes and the judge also made an order freezing the assets of the developers company, Coalport which originally developed Priory Hall back in 2006 and also directed that the matter be referred to the DPP !

The High Court did not seem very sympathetic to the developers and stressed that they, not Dublin City Council or the taxpayer should have to pay for this "disaster" which he said the members of this apartment complex were totally blameless and was certainly not impressed that both developers were out of the country yesterday and not impressed with their failure to deal with this problem which had a history.

One of the developers, Mr McFeely and a Larry McMahony have now been ordered to appear personally before the President of the High Court on Monday morning!

This development appears to have a chequered history and court were told that three fire safety notices were served on this company as far back as September 2009 and whilst a schedule of works was agreed upon to remedy the issues, it was not properly completed and the developers have already been before the District Court where they faced prosecutions and convictions in early 2011.

The first problems arose in the common areas of the complex but the situation became more serious in the early summer of 2011 when Dublin City Council housing department requested fire safety consultants to inspect individual apartments which the Council had bought and it was discovered that any fire which got into any of the external cavity walls could extend very quickly throughout the entire apartment complex without the protection of barriers or controls as the cavity barriers simply did not exist or where wholly unsatisfactory for purpose of fire prevention.

This application arose outside the provisions of the Multiunit Developments Act 2011 and its inevitable that we will see more and more of these applications in the courts. The directors of the apartment management company for this complex "Priory Hall" had to inform their members that the insurance company had decided to cease cover will affect from 13th October following on from a comprehensive survey of the apartment complex and the management company had failed to find other insurers who might be in a position to provide cover for this development!

There is little or no indication from the official records filed in the companies registration office that there is a proper and well-organised management company in place acting on behalf of the interests of the 187 members of some 20 blocks of apartments. The last annual return filing the companies registration office was made up to the end of August 2010 and published accounts in respect of the year ended 31 December 2009. The principal activity is described as the management of 20 blocks of apartments in Priory Hall, Donaghamede,, Dublin 13. It's described as a company limited by guarantee and in that regard it needs the full statutory accounts to be sent to the members each year. Just wonder if each one of these members of 187 apartments have been receiving proper accounts from the directors of the management company.

Since first October, it is a statutory requirement that the developer must transfer over the common areas to the apartment management company. Failure to comply with this new statutory requirement in most circumstances will render the property un marketable. Who will want to buy an apartment whilst the common areas still vest with the developer and what if the developer is struck off the register?

In this case, the developer is Coalport Building Company Limited and what do you know, the filing in the companies registration office says that this company is strike off listed as it has not filed statutory returns since 2009 and it also says that a receiver has been appointed?

Non-compliant developers better watch out!