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Newly Formed Construction Defects Alliance Calls For Urgent Implementation Of Oireachtas Housing Committee’s Redress Proposals For Owners Of Defective Apartments And Houses

07 November 2019

Alliance says low or no-interest loan scheme could be introduced in short-term to soften financial blow on hard-pressed owners having to pay for remediation of fire and other defects

The newly formed Construction Defects Alliance (CDA) has today called for the urgent implementation of the Oireachtas Housing Committee’s two-years old proposals to introduce a redress scheme for owners of defective apartments and homes. The call for redress was made this morning by Kath Cottier, CDA Spokesperson, at a hearing before the Oireachtas Housing, Planning and Local Government Committee which included witnesses from the Alliance and the Apartment Owners’ Network.

Kath Cottier explained to the Committee that CSO data shows that over 131,000 apartments were built during the period 2000-2008.

“We simply don’t know how many are affected by defects but some estimates suggest that it could be greater than 90,000 Celtic Tiger apartments. Unfortunately, because of the consequences – in terms of potential remediation costs, loss of property value and difficulty in selling their homes – many homeowners simply don’t want to know if their apartments or houses are affected by fire or other defects. But from a health and safety point of view this is an appalling vista – we can’t continue, with a hear no evil, see no evil approach to the issue of fire and other defects, especially as Government plans are to treble the proportion of our housing stock made up of apartments,” Ms Cottier said.

Kath Cottier explained that thousands of apartment owners around the country are having to pay sums varying between €5,000 to €50,000 to rectify fire and other defects caused by shoddy construction and ineffective enforcement of the State’s own Building Regulations. Ms Cottier highlighted the fact that concerns over fire safety are real and well-grounded.

“In Beacon South Quarter alone there have been eight fires in recent years with some apartments being absolutely gutted. We also know that people died as a result of a fire in Verdemont apartments in Blanchardstown and a terrace of houses in Newbridge, Co Kildare was destroyed by fire in the not too distant past. To tackle this problem, OMCs are having to employ fire wardens on a 24/7 basis and undertake extensive and costly remediation works. In most cases, the burden of paying for these works falls on the homeowners as many of the companies involved in the construction process no longer exist.”

To tackle the massive costs being imposed on owners of defective apartments and houses, Kath Cottier called for the implementation of the Oireachtas Housing Committee’s own two-year old proposals in the Safe as Houses? report including:

  • The establishment of a redress scheme to assist homeowners with latent defects;

  • Provision of an information and advice service for those affected by defects;

  • Redress scheme to be funded through industry levy matched by Government funding, tax write offs or interest-free loans.

In the short-term, Ms Cottier explained that the Alliance would like to engage with the current Government about soft loans to help ease the pain for homeowners who are having to pay levies.

“There is a strong precedent for the State providing loans for home improvements at soft rates. For years, local authorities provided Home Improvement Loans of up to €15,000 over 15 years at 2.75% – while many local authorities don’t do so anymore, some still do. Why can’t the terms of this scheme be broadened to include those who are owners of homes with structural defects that have had a levy for remediation works imposed upon them by their OMC? Local authorities have the experience and infrastructure to administer such loans – even those not doing the Home Improvement Loans anymore are administering the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loans.”

Kath Cottier concluded by saying that the financial burden of having to pay levies on top of their mortgages, service charges and living expenses is placing huge stress on many, many people, with some really struggling to pay their levies.

“Another aspect of this stress is that many homeowners are worried about the impact on their lenders and insurers if and when they find out about the defects as well as the real concern that they may have difficulty selling their property. These worries are why so many of the people involved in the Alliance are happy to talk to their public representatives but will shy away from the media.”


Notes to Editors

The Construction Defects Alliance ( is an informal grouping – which has the support of the Apartment Owners’ Network (AON) – currently involving owners and owners’ management companies (OMCs) from over a dozen different locations around the greater Dublin area which are affected by construction defects.