Legal Ruling: Apt Owners Can Use PRTB for Man Com Disputes

So apt owners are just tenants like the rest of us plebs.

Evenng Hearld

This judgment is plainly b0llocks, and reeks of a Circuit Court judge avoiding taking a case by kicking it to the PRTB.

And the reporting isn’t great, with the decision being represented as allowing landlords the option of going to the PRTB. No, if the judgment stands, they have to go there, as the Circuit Court won’t take the case.

The end result will likely be more hassle and delay for honest landlords and all tenants as it takes longer for deadbeat owners to be chased through the under-resourced PRTB for fees and service charges owed.

Shovelling management company disputes to the PRTB will also mean longer delays for normal landlord-tenant disputes before the Board.

Really, the PRTB is there to adjudicate between landlords and tenants, not owners and their management company. That is not a landlord-tenant relationship, whatever the labels attached to the owners’ agreement with the management company.

This seems to be presented as some sort of moral victory for apartment owners. However, if management companies are unabel to enforce management fees, building will fall into disrepair pretty damn quickly. It is important here not to confuse the Management Company, in which the apartment owners are members, not professional management agencies (who are of very varied quallty) hired to act on behalf of the management company.

Afer this decision the owners of the apartment block cannot now enforce collection of essential maintenance monies, legaly owed, through the courts. I’m not seeing an upside to this.

I’m an apartment owner and secretary of management company and this is going to be a complete pain for me.
I’ve got two leasees who routinely don’t pay their management fee each year and have to be chased up by Solicitors at expense to the other residents.
The only thing forcing them to pay at all was their leasehold agreement. They will now not bother to pay at all until this issue is resolved.
The only people who will benefit from this ruling are the feckers who won’t pay their management charge meaning their decent neighbours pay more.
That amendment to the residential tenancy act had better be implemented soon.

Note to self: another strike against apartments.


The PRTB is slower to get into than the courts, is slower to issue decisions and is more expensive for the person who wins as he/she cannot recover their costs. It also comes out with some loopy decisions. The losers will be the apartment owners who own the management company.

Deffo agree with Calina that this is another strike against apartments.

Another point is that of the thousand of long apartment leases granted over the last few years none have been registered with PRTB so you cannot enforce them with the PRTB.

In fairness to the Judge, she may have had no choice based on the legislation. It wouldn’t be such a problem if the PRTB was not such a disaster. Also, what are the PRTB going to order if somebody is in breach of a covenant, i.e. the covenant to pay service charge? Are they going to issue an injunction? Will they terminate the lease :open_mouth: ? The banks will love that! What rights will the mortgagee have? Will the landlord be able to go directly against the bank as a sub-tenant :laughing: ?

Apartment living can be great, but exercising control over your shared ownership is a real pain. I know, I was on the board of my management company when I owned one. The problem is with the absence of proper legislation around the management and running of them. This needs changing but unfortunately may be difficult given the existence of so many long term leases. It’s a pity, coz a good partment in a good development can be great way to live.

Im sorry to hear that this will give deadbeats more scope and freedom to escape their debts.

Are there any non-standard techniques you could use to induce the deadbeats to pay. How about disabling their cable connection at the junction box or disconnecting their water. Id say youd be within your rights to do those things.

Cutting off water would be a definite no-no and I’m sure at best NTL would be peeved about people cutting off their customers.

I considered many of the new apartment blocks as having a fairly short timespan anyway but if this stands I give a lot of them 10 years tops. Why would anyone pay their management charge if they don’t have to? Imagine if the government created an optional payment scheme for refuse collection etc.

Because saving yourself 1% (approx) of the value of a large asset every year, is likely to cost you far far more in the long run.

Sure but if you pay and enough other people don’t then you have all the downsides of not paying anyway.

Was there not some case while back where the tenant was within his rights not to pay the because the management company could not/would not break down the management charges, to show what exactly the tenant was “purchasing”?

Isnt it very unlikely that this judgement can be overturned because a judge would have to overturn a colleages decision and afterall the judge is only quoting the law. The managment company had a legal right to bring the dispute before the PRTB board but chose to go through the court system when there was always an alternative route and that is the reason why they lost there case. It is ow very unlikely that the judgement will be overturned but time will tell.


As far as I know, there is a rider on an upcoming Housing act which will reverse the outcome of this judgement.