Ireland is expected to need an additional 90,000 apartment units in Dublin alone over the next 20 years to accommodate a booming population.
This is according to a recent Sustainable Apartment Living for Ireland report commissioned by the Housing Agency and Clúid Housing and carried out by independent researchers.
According to the study, the Irish population is expected to increase by 25% by 2040. This coupled with the growing trend of apartment living will require a dramatic increase in the supply of apartment units as they become an ever more important element of the Irish housing system.
Despite this growing demand, there were only 6,603 apartment units build in Ireland between 2011 and 2017, just 12% of the housing stock. The latest 2016 Census figures show that there are 200,000 apartments across Ireland, representing an increase of 85% since 2002. In 2016, the number of apartments in Dublin overtook the number of houses for the first time.
The report also found that the number of residents living in apartments is far below the international average, with only 7.3% in Ireland compared to 41.8% of Europeans living in apartments. Comparatively, 14.3% of UK residents live in apartments. In Ireland, 20% of apartments across the country are owner-occupied.
Current Challenges Facing OMCs
The Housing Agency report examined the current issues facing Owner Management Companies (OMC), a not-for-profit company established for the management of a multi-unit development that owns the common areas of an estate. OMCs are collectively owned and controlled by the owners of the properties within the estate.
The report highlights the importance of OMCs and their ability to function properly in order to create sustainable communities, good living conditions and to keep residents safe. When OMCs function below standard, it can lead to substandard maintenance of common areas generating additional long-term costs and unpredictable expenditures.
Some of the major problems facing OMCs according to the report are managing finances and cash-flow and maintaining good working relationships among stakeholders. To help remedy some of the challenges faced by OMCs, the report suggests that the government establish a regulator for OMCs.
Recommendations for Improving the Functioning of OMCs
This regulator would offer guidance on all aspects of operation, process annual returns to ensure compliance, and provide a dispute resolution process. The regulator would also have the power to impose sanctions for non-compliance and appoint independent directors as a sanction or at the request of an OMC.
In addition to the creation of an office of regulator, the report also suggests the MUD Act, the current legislation related to OMCs, be amended. Of the 18 recommendations included in the report are to increase the reporting duties of OMCs, provide the regulator jurisdiction to handle disputes, and to require OMCs to carry out a Building Investment Fund report every five years.
While the recommendations in the report will no doubt create additional regulatory compliance, it is likely they will be welcomed by owners and landlords.