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Thursday 7 December 2023 Dublin: 10°C
Lincoln Hall, one of the affected apartment blocks in the Broadmeadows development.

Apartment owners threatened with legal action if they don't pay €5,000 for fire safety works

The Broadmeadows apartment complex is one of thousands of boom-era developments with fire safety defects.

OWNERS OF APARTMENTS in Swords have been warned that they may face legal action if they do not begin to pay part of €15,000 needed for fire safety works.

The Broadmeadows apartment complex is one of thousands of boom-era developments with fire safety defects.

Last year, The Journal reported that owners of apartments in the complex were told that they would have to pay €5,000 for the fire safety remedial works each year for three years, with the total amounting to €15,000. Apartment owners must pay for the works despite not being responsible for the fire safety defects. 

This payment was agreed by the owner management company (OMC), Broadmeadows Property Management CLG, which owns and manages the common areas in a development, and is made up of the property owners.

A vote was held in February last year in which apartment owners voted to pay the levy over three years. The first payment was due in July 2022, with the second payment being requested last month.

However, some apartment owners said they are now unable to afford to pay the amounts requested due to the cost of living crisis and the ever-increase mortgage interest rates, which have led to significantly higher repayments on mortgages. 

In June, a letter was sent to owners saying that their account would be handed over to solicitors for debt collection if they did not arrange a payment within seven days.

The letter – seen by TheJournal - was sent by Lansdowne Partnership, a residential sales, lettings and asset management agency acting on behalf of Broadmeadows Property Management. It begins by addressing the owner and noting that a payment plan has not been arranged for the €5,000 levy issued in July 2022.

“At this stage we must insist that property owners engage with us and arrange a payment plan for this outstanding levy,” the letter reads.

“If an agreed payment plan is not put in place within 7 days of the date of this letter, then we have no option but to hand your account over to the company solicitors for debt collection. 

Debt collection services will incur additional costs on your account, I would like to emphasise the importance of arranging a payment with our account department immediately. 

‘Can’t afford to pay’

Speaking to The Journal, one apartment owner – who did not want to be named – said they are “very concerned” that they are unable to pay the initial €5,000 levy, as well as the additional €5,000 that was requested in July, and any potential legal costs on top of that.

“Mortgage interest rates are increasing every couple of months, apartment management fees have increased, prices in general are increasing making it very hard to live, let alone afford to pay a fire levy that is no fault of our own,” the owner said.

Then to be threatened with legal costs because we can’t afford to pay it is totally unfair.

One of the main concerns for owners is that the fire safety works are likely to be covered in a redress scheme announced by the Government earlier this year. 

In January, the government approved a €2.5 billion remediation scheme for owners of defective apartments, with up to 100,000 apartments expected to be impacted. Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien said at the time the remediation works would be “fully funded” and that there will be no cap in place for the cost of works.

However, it is likely that the scheme will not be properly in place until at least late next year. Laws need to be drafted and passed through the houses of the Oireachtas, regulations need to be drawn up, and all the machinery has to be put in place to allow the scheme to function properly.

A spokesperson for the Housing Department confirmed that a code of practice has been put together to support the approach to resolving fire safety defects in apartments and to ensure a consistent approach across the country.

The spokesperson also confirmed that details of an interim fire safety measures scheme to cover serious defects (like fire safety alarms or fire escapes) will be published in the autumn.

Old works covered

The spokesperson said that works that began after 18 January of this year will also be retrospectively covered by the Government scheme, meaning owners will be reimbursed the amounts they pay (subject to terms and conditions).

The owner at Broadmeadows said they want to wait until the Government scheme comes into effect as they cannot afford to pay for the works.

The OMC (Broadmeadows Property Management) is acting on behalf of the apartment owners, who voted in favour of the works being carried out and the levy being charged.

However, the property owner said that they had initially voted against payment of the levy last year during an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) before the Government scheme was announced, but that the vote “narrowly passed”.

“If we had another vote… I have no doubt it wouldn’t pass through this time,” the owner said.

An owners’ information meeting was held in May of this year in relation to the remediation works, with representatives from Lansdowne Partnership, an insurance broker, and others present.

According to the minutes of the meeting – seen by TheJournal - concerns were raised around renewal of the apartment complex’s insurance. 

According to the insurance broker present, a plan with regards to the building’s fire safety remedial works had to be presented to the building’s insurer in order to secure a renewal.

According to those present at the meeting, since the announcement of the Government redress scheme, payments of the levy had stalled “across the board”.

It was agreed at the meeting that the works must be carried out as quickly as possible, and that owners would be contacted to secure the levy, and that anyone not engaging “may then receive a legal letter”.

Legal action

Speaking generally and not directly in relation to the Broadmeadows development, Pat Montague of the Construction Defects Alliance campaign group said that under current laws, if a levy is agreed and voted on at a general meeting, then all owners in a complex are liable to pay it.

This may result in legal action being pursued by the owner management company (OMC) if an owner doesn’t pay, which could eventually lead to court hearing where the OMC can get an attachment order (not always guaranteed), which means that when the property is sold the OMC might be able to recover the money.

“This process is far from ideal for all concerned,” Montague said.

It causes stress and tension, breakdowns in relationships between neighbours and is costly and time consuming. But, as it stands, under the law this is the only way forward at present.

The future

Commenting on the Broadmeadows development, local Labour TD Duncan Smith said that “no resident should have to bear the cost of fire remediation works”.

“These residents have worked very hard in difficult circumstances and are dealing with fire safety issues not of their making,” Smith said.

Debt collection should not take place. We need this scheme to be rolled out ASAP, it is designed precisely for apartments such as Broadmeadows.

The Broadmeadows property owner said that another vote on the fire safety works should take place, and that taking legal action against owners “just shouldn’t be allowed”.

“Government TDs and Ministers should also voice their opinion in public that this is unfair and should not be happening,” the owner said.

Also, the Housing Minister needs to pull his finger out and fast track the redress as owners need it to happen soon.

TheJournal made multiple attempts to contact Lansdowne Partnership which manages the OMC, but had received no response at the time of publication.

 If you’ve been affected by fire safety defects in your apartment development, we want to hear from you. Send us a message to

With reporting from Michelle Hennessy