Like rental agencies, those dealing with block management in Ireland have also seen an evolution in sophistication and professionalism that did not exist in the Ireland of the not so distant future.
The days when the construction and ongoing management of residential blocks or complexes could be built or maintained to shoddy standards are over and most people living in such residential units today understand and appreciate the workings of this system.
According to Binesh Tholath – managing director of Absolute Property Group – there are still owner occupiers in such complexes who do not appreciate the importance of everyone contributing to the management fee every year.
Absolute Property Group are primarily focused on block management – one of two leading block management specialists in Cork City.
“I’ve been in block management for thirteen years,” Binesh says, “and I don’t know if it’s a cultural issue or not, but I still find that a lot of people think that an owner management company doesn’t is not necessary.
“The attitude can be, ‘why should I pay someone – it’s my own house’ and I can understand that too – people pay with limited disposable income, but we often have to remind people like that that the building or complex has been constantly maintained and maintained to a very high standard…most apartment owners understand this and will pay on time but there is a minority who will not or will not pay on time and that only means that their neighbors have to pay more for the necessary maintenance costs… owning an apartment is not just about owning the four walls you live in – you also live in the bigger ‘house’ of the building or complex.
Another pitfall some apartment owners fall into is when someone from the management company (the voluntary company representing the complex) informs the residents’ council that they can manage the property for less.
But, Binesh points out, it’s important to realize that the costs of repair and maintenance work aren’t going down, no matter what anyone else might try to say. Moreover, a block management company like his must operate under strict licensing conditions and an individual cannot legally set up overnight to fulfill such a role.
“There’s a big responsibility in the role that people sometimes don’t understand,” says Binesh, who says his job can often be that of a go-between to keep everyone happy and the property in top condition.
“There’s a lot of work to be done, like working out the budgets, finding the best prices, raising the money…a lot of it is pretty detailed and mandatory too, like submitting all the legal documents on time.”
Absolute Property has its own solicitor – which is a growing necessity as the specialization of their profession grows. When a building management company is first defined by law and established, there is a lot of legal work to do, but the need for the building management company to keep up to date with everything – to both legal and organizational – means that it often has to have an in-house legal representative.