I’ve written to the Minister for Planning requesting that he change legislation to make it easier for residents of housing estates run by management companies to hold a vote to allow their estate be taken in charge by Fingal County Council.
I did this following a meeting of residents of Tyrrelstown that I recently attended. In Tyrrelstown, all home owners have to pay management fees, even if they live in houses, as opposed to apartments. The residents of the estate want Fingal County Council to take charge of the roads and green spaces in the estate, like they do in the majority of estates in Dublin 15. This requires a vote of the residents, but Fingal County Council insist that 85% of those home owners on the electoral register have to vote in favour of taking in charge.
This is an extremely high threshold and it is very difficult for groups seeking to collect the signatures to achieve this, particularly in situations where houses may be rented, owners may have left the country or where grown up children on the electoral register are living elsewhere. As such, I have written to the Minister for Planning to ask him to amend the relevant section of the Planning & Development (S.180) to state that a lower threshold would be appropriate. I think a figure like 55% of owners would be more suitable.
This issue has particular importance in Dublin 15, where there are a number of ‘traditional’ housing estates which are under the control of management companies, such as in Tyrrelstown and in Ongar. It is now recognised that this was a flawed model for these estates and management companies will not be used like this in the future. However, I believe the Minister needs to intervene and change the law to make it easier to deal with the existing estates across Dublin 15 which are caught in this legal situation.
The Minister for State for Planning, Paudie Coffey TD, has responded to my request and the matter has been referred onto officials in the Department of the Environment for study (see letter below). I hope the Government acts swiftly, as making this amendment will be one step in dealing the difficulties faced by residents of estates run by management companies.