Hundreds of Galway homes cannot be sold because they are caught in a legal limbo arising from management companies going defunct and local authorities refusing to take over the estates.
The situation has been described as a "growing problem" by Galway West Independent TD Noel Grealish, who said it is "causing stress for home owners in both the city and county", as they are unable to sell their houses due to the absence of a management company.
“As part of the planning permission that was granted for these developments, a management company had to be set up and a lot of the construction companies would set up a management company themselves and act as the directors," said Dep Grealish. "Unfortunately many builders ceased trading and several estates now find themselves without management companies."
Another problem is that, in such circumstances, the onus then falls on the people in the estates to form a management company. However Dep Grealish said this is not always possible as "it’s difficult at times to get agreement among the residents". Furthermore the establishment of a management company can take months, by which time any potential buyer would have moved on to other properties. As well as this, the local authorities will not take charge of these estates as they feel they are not up to standard.
"People feel aggrieved that they are paying property tax and feel that should cover the costs of basic services – why should they pay on the double?" Dep Grealish said. "They were led up the garden path regarding property tax when they were told that all these services would be provided by the local authority."
Dep Grealish said the Government "has to intervene in this". He argues that where people are paying the property tax, the council should take these estates over and allow people to sell their houses.