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Can management company ban my mother from accessing the car park?

The agent has been terrorising her, asking that she pay outstanding service charges of €13,000

My mother lives in an apartment development in Dublin. She is the owner of this property. She paid her service charge every year as required every January. In 2019 she received multiple complaints from the managing agent about the behaviour of my brother who lives with schizophrenia. He lived in the apartment with my mother at that time, but moved out in 2020.

The most serious complaint was that he was responsible for breaking the button panel in the lift. The agent said he had all the necessary evidence, but if we wanted to know any details we could do our own investigation. We called the Garda asking if there was a report about this incident and also asked the neighbours if they had seen anything. We did not get any information. The agent sent us an invoice for €7,000 to repair the lift. We refused as we couldn’t get any information from him or any other sources.

Since then, the agent has been terrorising my mother, asking her to pay outstanding service charges, which are now €13,000 (including interest from 2019), otherwise they will not give permission to use the car park or allow access via the main door to her apartment. He is also charging €25 for every email he sends us. For me, this looks strange.

I tried to speak with him on the phone, however it was very difficult. He was screaming and, in the end, he hung up on me. I wrote a formal complaint about this agent, about his lack of professionalism and his disrespectful behaviour. But, coming back to the main question, can the agent deny owners use of the car park or access via the main door?


The agent is a contractually appointed representative of the owners’ management company (OMC) who follows the instructions given to them by the board of directors. The agent can also be the appointed company secretary, which can in itself be problematic if complaints progress to a legal action.

While the agent is the point of contact for the OMC, they would not exercise this level of restrictions to your mother without the instruction from the board of directors.

The letter of engagement binding the OMC and the agent as prescribed by the Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA) will outline the agent fees (section 7) and the complaint process (section 14). A member of the OMC can request this information to direct their formal complaint. Where there are shortcomings in the provision of a property service provider holding a licence, in this case a D licence holder, you may refer the matter to the PSRA as it is tasked with the regulation of same. The standards to be observed by the agent are set out in the Property Services (Regulation) Act 2011 (Minimum Standards), section 95.

You can seek further information about service standards, the complaints process and more on

Criminal damage would be a matter for the local Garda, as would any complaint of harassment. It would be fair and reasonable for the OMC to provide formal correspondence setting out the case of the need for repairs along with informed evidence of the alleged damage. A lift in an OMC is required to be under a maintenance contract and as such a quotation for the lift works from a competent company should be on file and easily available.

Your solicitor should provide you with guidance on both the matter of the liability to pay for the repairs and the complaint of harassment. Another option would be to seek mediation between the OMC and your mother with the aim of resolving these matters without resorting to the courts.

OMCs across the State face significant underfunding. The ability of an OMC to recover unpaid service charges is ineffective, expensive and protracted. OMC service charge evasion is a significant cause of concern for the greater built environment and if left to fester further, will require State intervention.

A significant overhaul of the system of service charge recovery is overdue. One effective instrument an OMC has at its disposal is a restriction of services to motivate payment. Non-payment of service charges affects many people as the creditor is the community itself.

Paul Huberman is a chartered property and facilities manager and a fellow of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland

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