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I’m worried about a broken window in my apartment block and the management company has failed to act. What can I do?

I have security concerns because anyone could reach inside and open the window to gain access to the building

I live in an apartment development in Dublin city. Some months ago, I noticed that a window was smashed on one of the ground floor apartments in my block. I contacted the owners’ management company (OMC) about this for the first time several months ago and they assured me they were in contact with the apartment owner (who to my knowledge owns the windows) about having it fixed.

I’ve since followed up several times, but the window is still smashed. It’s right by the main entrance to the building and apart from being unsightly, I’m worried about the security aspect because anyone could reach inside and open the window to gain access to the building.

Finally, this week I raised with the OMC the possibility of entering the apartment to have it fixed as I believe it is its right to do so if the owner neglects to. They responded that a “sad incident” had occurred in the apartment not so long ago and that no work could be carried out until a “process” was completed. I asked for more information about this process but was told that they couldn’t elaborate any further. While the apartment was previously occupied, it appears to be empty now.

I’m not sure how to proceed or how to communicate with the OMC further. I have no idea how long this mystery process will last or how it relates to the broken window. I am sorry to hear that a sad incident happened in my neighbour’s home and while I am aware that this incident is none of my business, I feel that as a resident and apartment owner in the building, the broken window is.

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The security of the building for all residents in an apartment block is paramount and a breach such as this is something that should be resolved sooner rather than later. As it stands this broken window presents a risk for all residents in the building. When resolving such issues in an OMC the key to doing so successfully is good communication. It is clear that you have been in contact with the OMC about this matter, however, clarification is required on this point.

The OMC is made up of fellow homeowners in the development. In many cases the OMC will engage the services of a managing agent to manage the affairs of the OMC on a day-to-day basis. You advise that you have been in touch with the OMC and if this is the case, then the question that arises is whether it was the managing agent, a director of the OMC or, if there is a committee, if it was a committee member.

The reason why it is important to know this is because if it is the managing agent that you have been in contact with then you could also find out if the directors of the OMC are aware of this matter. If not, they should be made aware of it as it is a material issue which compromises the security of the building. The directors of the OMC are responsible for instructing the managing agent and they should be able to get more information about the issue and instruct that the window is repaired without further delay.

When it comes to the structure of the building and responsibility for the upkeep and maintenance of same, the key document is the lease agreement. This will state where responsibility lies for replacing windows and glass. Very often the lease agreement will state that the window frames are owned by the management company and the glass is the responsibility of the owner. Therefore, if the glass is broken it is the responsibility of the owner to have it repaired. This can vary from one OMC to another.

Aisling Keenan is a property managing agent, consultant and an associate member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland

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