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Private Management Companies must be regulated – Ó Snodaigh

8 May, 2008

Speaking in the Dáil today Sinn Féin Housing Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD said strong regulation of management companies must become a part of a robust tenant protection regime. Deputy Ó Snodaigh welcomed a private members motion from Fine Gael on the regulation of management companies but called on TDs to support a Sinn Féin amendment to the motion which goes even further to protect the rights of tenants.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "Sinn Féin broadly welcomes the Private Members motion drafted by the Fine Gael Deputies and urges all Deputies to vote in favour of our amendment which goes further in terms of protecting the rights of tenants. Strong regulation of management companies must become a part of a robust tenant protection regime.

"The lack in social and affordable housing is pushing people into the private rented sector where they lack security of tenure, or forcing them into dangerous over-mortgaging in order to buy, or into crowded accommodation with their extended family. Further to this they are then landed with having to pay astronomical fees to private management companies who do not provide the necessary services most of the time. The big business management companies, the private property speculator, and the developer once again lines his pockets at the tax-payers expense.

"Sinn Féin is opposed to the involvement of private for-profit management companies in the maintenance of roads and common open spaces in traditional housing estates, as this should ordinarily be the responsibility of local government and such services should be paid for through direct progressive taxation.

"For-profit companies should not be allowed extort thousands from people in housing estates towards the upkeep of the area and provision of essential services when that is the responsibility of local authorities. All public areas should be the responsibility of local authorities and never outsourced to private management.

"Although a form of Management Company will be unavoidable for apartment blocks - they should only be subject to not-for-profit management companies and only cover structural insurance, internal communal areas and walled gardens. The government must also implement legislation to ensure that fees are then not foisted upon the tenant when the development is incomplete. The tenant should not be shouldering construction costs for developers.

"It is imperative that the legislation is introduced to regulate these companies. Being subject to company law is clearly not enough. They are unregulated entities that tenants are forced to buy into and then have no legal get-out." ENDS

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