Belfast apartment owners object to £200k bill for wall

By Christine Farrell

A group of Belfast apartment owners have been told they must collectively pay a £200,000 bill for the repair of a wall in their development.

A wall at Larkspur Rise collapsed two years ago and the builders, Fider Homes, denied any responsibility, and an attempt to cover the cost of replacing the wall through an insurance policy also failed. The retaining wall separates the development from Colin Glen River and after it collapsed the Belfast City Council instructed the management company, Larkspur Management Company, which is run by Gateway NI, to carry out remedial work to make the area safe. A temporary fence was erected but no permanent construction work has been commenced.

The 31 apartment owners have all received letters requesting £7,000 each towards the cost of replacing the wall, and while some have paid, others are objecting to being hit with the bill, which they also argue is too large for the work involved. One apartment owner has advised that his lender was contacted by solicitors acting on behalf of Gateway NI, and the lender has given him a deadline for payment or they will send the £7,000 and add it to his mortgage.

Apartment owners are often required to join a management company when they purchase a property, which meets from time to time to deal with issues that affect all the apartment owners, such as maintenance of common areas which is covered by a monthly service charge. In this case it is understood that only 8 of the 31 apartment owners at Larspur Rise attended the meeting in which the Gateway NI proposal to bill each owner £7,000 was approved.

If you are purchasing, selling or remortgaging an apartment in Northern Ireland, contact one of the property conveyancing solicitors at Wilson Nesbitt in Belfast or Bangor by calling 0800 840 9290.