State Reforms Needed to Protect House Buyers from “Fly by Night” Developers

By Seamus Whelehan

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Cork County Council is calling on the Minister for the Environment, Richard Bruton, to introduce new legislation which would force developers to finish ghost estates.

The public representatives said State reforms are needed to protect house buyers from “fly by night” developers.

The move comes following the tabling of a Motion by Cllr Noel Collins requesting Minister for the Environment, Richard Bruton, to enact laws that would impose a Prohibition Order on Contractors who failed to properly complete a development.  The ban would preclude the builder from further construction projects until their obligation is met.

Where the developer has gone into liquidation, the new Law would debar the Directors of the liquidated company from their involvement in other companies, until the affairs of the other company are put in order.

Cllr Noel Collins told full Council that, for all the promises of reforms by previous Government administrations, “weak legislation has caused home owners to suffer major financial loss.”

He said because of the laxity of our building regulations, home owners and the Local Authority are left to pay the consequences for “unscrupulous builders” who leave estates half finished.

Mr Collins said with house building beginning again, implementing strong consumer legislation will help to avert a repetition of unfinished housing estates, as in past years.

He said not a week passes that he does not receive a letter from a person or a Residents Association about some builder who has left them in a mess.

“The complaints” he said “are related to defective houses, poor roads, no footpaths or public lighting within the estates.”

Cllr Marcia Dalton, who backed Cllr Collins Motion, said she recognised that Cork County Council has made major inroads taking housing estates in charge which had been “abandoned” by builders.

“There are, however, those who remain where the home owners are not getting the basic services delivered to them, to their roads, to their greens, and their lighting”, which she said “is not fair”

East Cork Municipal Chairwoman, Mary Linehan Foley said “Cork County Council sometimes takes up the flak for a lot of private developers when we are asking for estates to be taken over.”

She said “a lot of people are living in limbo in their private estates, sometimes with no lighting or no footpaths, and we are shouting and roaring here at Cork County Council level for them to take over these jobs and have them completed.”

Green Cllr, Liam Quaide, said his Party had sought the establishment of a Building Regulator in 2017, to enforce Safety Rules.

He said if Government had implemented the proposed legislation, it would have improved the regulation of building standards and given new legal rights to homebuyers.

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