FAQs

The following are some of the questions we are frequently asked:-

Why does a Management Company exist?

Management companies in Northern Ireland have always been associated with apartment blocks however back in 2004 the Department of the Environment introduced a Planning Policy for open space within residential developments. This policy has been designed to create sustainable and quality residential environments.

Please visit the following link to view the full Planning Policy Statement (PPS 8).

http://www.planningni.gov.uk/index/policy/policy_publications/planning_statements/pps08-open-space.pdf

What is a Management Company?

A management company, often known as an RMC (Residents Management Company) may be set up primarily for one of two reasons:

– to take on ownership and responsibility for what is termed communal open space within a housing development which may or may not include unadopted roads, footpaths and/ or street lighting.

– where an apartment complex exists, the management company is set up to take ownership of and responsibility for all communal areas such as stairwells, hallways, unadopted car parking areas and gardens. The management company is also responsible for insuring the building or apartment block as a whole in the event of unforeseen incidents such as fire, flooding, etc.

What is a Managing Agent?

A managing agent is someone that runs and operates a management company on behalf of the shareholders within that particular company ie the homeowners.

What does a Managing Agent actually do?

In broad terms, a professional and responsible managing agent will ensure the following:

– that the development is well maintained throughout the year which will entail implementing a schedule of grounds maintenance to look after designated open space areas, insuring these areas, and taking care of all company secretarial duties. In addition to this, and where an apartment complex exists, the managing agent will put in place the Block Building Insurance Policy on behalf of the apartment owners.  For information please see our Services section.

What is a ‘Service Charge’ and why am I paying it?

Every homeowner, within a development where a management company exists, is legally obligated to contribute towards the costs of operating and running the management company, of which they are a shareholder in.  These costs are reflected in the annual budget of the management company and are apportioned between every homeowner within the development.

Why am I paying all this money for cutting an area of Grass…?

The service charge contributes towards all the combined costs and work involved in running and operating a management company and does not simply reflect the cost of maintaining an area of grass. In addition to the element of grounds maintenance, the other costs that are factored in include:

  • Provision of Insurance (both Public Liability and Buildings Insurance)
  • Accountancy fees and other company secretarial such as Annual Return
  • Provision of a client bank account and the associated banking fees
  • Managing Agents fees for all management and administration
  • Provision of a reserve fund

For more information you can go to our Services page.

Do I have to pay the Service Charge?

Every homeowner is legally obligated to pay the service charge to the management company. These obligations are clearly set out and defined in various covenants contained within the Title Deeds and Final Sale Contracts entered into by every homeowner upon purchase of their property.

Why was I never told about a ‘Service Charge’ or the existence of a Management Company?

This is something that comes up a lot. It is the responsibility of the Solicitor acting for any prospective purchaser of a property, to inform them of the existence of the Management Company and their subsequent legal obligations as outlined above.

Why should I have to pay a Service Charge if my property is not located near any of the Open Space?

The provision and location of open space within a development is based on Planning Policy. The proximity to the open space areas has no bearing on the obligation to pay the service charge. All homeowners within the development derive a benefit from its existence either directly or indirectly and, as shareholders, have equal rights and opportunity to use it.

Why do the Council not look after these areas?

Management Companies ultimately take on full ownership of these open space areas and therefore the Council are not obligated to look after and maintain them in any way. In general terms, the Council / DRD Roads Service are responsible for all adopted roads and footpaths within a development and in most cases street lighting.