A GROUP of local apartment owners say they ‘don’t know where to turn’ after being told they must pay more than €68,000 to repair fire safety defects.
The Crescent Building in Park West consists of 232 apartments and was built in 2003 by a third-party contractor, P.Elliot, as part of the Park West campus which was developed by Harcourt Developments.
Last year residents of The Crescent Building were notified that the result of a fire-safety survey found non-compliance with the fire-safety certificate in various parts of the building.
The estimated costs to repair the defects is expected to be more than €5 million.
At a recent AGM via zoom with their management company, Keenan Property Management, owners of apartments in The Crescent Building were told that it was going to cost them €68500 per apartment unit with the first instalment of €15,000 due before the end of this year and the rest over the next 5 years which works out at just under €300 per week.
Apartment owner Odette Doran told Southside People that she and her fellow apartment owners were stunned to hear they were expected to pay for something which was not their fault.
“It was a complete shock to us all,” she said.
“We asked where should we get the money for this with the rising cost of living and already our properties have been in negative equity over the last number of years.
“We were told go to our local credit union.
“We have been threatened by the management company that if we don’t pay up the first €15,000 there is a threat of closing the building.
“We have also been told if we can’t or don’t pay this then they would have to take legal action against us.
“There are 232 apartments in the crescent building over 9 blocks that would be nearly 1000 residents out on the streets with the ever-growing housing crisis.
“We have also had the threat of our current insurance company pulling the plug on us at the end of the year.”
Odette’s husband Sam Doran told Southside People that the situation is causing stress.
“These huge costs for the repairs are the fault of developers and builders, the owners bear no responsibility for this but are being forced to put right the mistakes of others.
“This is making life very hard, people don’t know where to turn.
“We have been campaigning for 100% redress and we were hoping for something in the budget but nothing came out of it.
“They said they should have something in place by the end of the year.
“We were hoping that they would broaden the scope of the Mica and Pyrite scheme to include defective apartments and duplexes but they are talking about a new scheme that could take up to three years to set up.
“We need to be included in the Mica and Pyrite scheme.”
Odette Doran told Southside People:
“At the EGM, which was held on Tuesday (18th), the management company proceeded with the proposal for the EGM and issued a breakdown of payments that they wanted from each owner with the first payment of €15,000 due by the 31st of December 2022,” she said.
“They had been asked to defer the meeting by the residents before the EGM but they said that they had to go ahead with the meeting.
“82% of the owners voted no, they had looked for an option not to vote and this was turned down so they as owners had no other option if they voted yes, they were committing to a legally binding contract that they would make these payments.
“It’s not that they didn’t want to pay it was down to inability to pay.
“The management company was asked on the night about the fire cert and they told us back in those days the fire cert was issued before the building was built in our case Harcourt Developments got issued the fire cert in 2003 prior to build the building to these specifications.
“If it was built to the specifications everything would be ok.
“There was no inspection carried out during the building.
“Harcourt Developments were contacted about the defective work and their reply was that it was nothing to do with them that they had hired P. Elliots a reputable building company to build the building for them who have since gone into liquidation.
“They were asked what would happen if someone doesn’t pay up, they replied that they had a legal obligation to pursue the payment so nobody in their right mind could commit to this knowing that they could not make those payments so voting no we had no other option.
“That’s why we need an answer sooner rather than later from Darragh O’ Brien about what scheme the government is going to introduce.
“We still don’t know what action will be taken by the fire officer or insurance company if these works don’t commence in a timely manner.
“T. D. Paul Murphy has been a true asset to us all, he marched with us in the cost-of-living protest he also had TV coverage of us when we protested outside the Dail on the first day back.
“We have emailed all the Senators and TD’s in Leinster House.
“We also have a petition on uplift #notourfault and we are looking for neighboring apartments and duplexes built during the Celtic Tiger times to go onto the website and register their support as this affects us all.”
Southside People contacted Keenan Property Management for a comment but had not received a reply at the time of going to press.