21 Jun 2023
At the heart of successful apartment communities are organised and well-run owners’ management companies (OMCs). A nasty shock, an 'OMG!' moment, can lie in store for homeowners who neglect the role of their OMC. Perhaps only when problems arise in a development - poor maintenance standards, ownership disputes, building defects - is the significance of the OMC apparent.
Owner-occupiers and investors can prevent that 'OMG!' moment by:
MUDs – the basics
Most multi-unit developments, or MUDs for short, have an OMC. It is a company, made up of all the owners.
Lifts, fire safety equipment, basements, stairs, corridors, and hallways are owned and controlled by the OMC. These are known as the common areas. The OMC is responsible for services such as waste and recycling, parking control, insurance, cleaning, and repairs and maintenance in the common areas.
Like other companies, OMCs have a board of directors. In most cases the directors are public-spirited homeowners, willing to take on the responsibilities that go with running a company. More often than not, the directors will appoint and instruct an agent to manage the development day-to-day.
Directors of an OMC may have skills and life experience to contribute to the role. However, they are not always knowledgeable in finance, property management, construction, or company law. Directors may lack the wherewithal to tackle problems involving complex legal and financial decisions. They may not have the information necessary to interpret and challenge advice from advisers.
The good news is that there is help available. A variety of sources offer independent information, support, guidance, and advice for directors of OMCs, and homeowners in MUDs.
The Housing Agency has produced stakeholder training webinars, and published guides and web content. These are available on the Agency’s website and YouTube channel. Other organisations, including commercial providers, have developed training programmes aimed at directors of OMCs.
Be informed, before your OMC leads to 'OMG!'.
David Rouse is multi-unit developments advisor with the Housing Agency. Views expressed are those of the author.