This really takes the biscuit....there's an article in todays SBP by Michelle Devane about how Wicklow County Council is pursuing homeowners for the payment of unpaid development levies that is owed to them by the developer. This move by WCC may have wider implications for other homeowners in similar estates around the country who may find themselves in a similar predicament if WCC are allowed to get away with this.
And this is the reason why I am highlighting this - someone has to say enough is enough - and hopefully the information that I am putting out in the public domain will help these homeowners!
Twenty-four homeowners have received letters of demand from WCC telling them that they will have to pay the unpaid development levies of between €2,300 to €4,803 for Brook Meadow estate in Avoca. The letter demanding payment within 10 weeks also "threatens" them with a fine of up to €13k or up to two years imprisonment for the criminal offence of non-payment .
The firm behind the Brook Meadow Scheme, KJK Kilbride was dissolved last year after the directors of the company sought a voluntary strike-off from the CRO....now I'll come back to this particular point later. While there are 54 houses in the estate, only 24 homeowners have received letters demanding a total payment of €65,260.
WCC told the SBP that the development levies were a charge on the property and not on the developer. Seemingly, WCC seems to think that homeowners have a contractual obligation to pay levies that are unpaid by a developer, which is odd considering the levies are attached to the planning permission which is sought by the developer not the homeowners. The warning letter seeking payment referred to how under "Condition 3" attached to planning permission that WCC was pursuing the developer for the unpaid levies, but that it was also obliged to pursue the property owner for the unpaid levies. Yet condition 3 actually states that "the developer shall pay" the sum of €1,200 per house - nothing about the homeowner actually being liable for the levy!
So the first question is why are the letters demanding payment only being sent to 24 homeowners? Are the remaining properties in the development unsold, with the council expecting the 24 homeowners to pick up the tab for the 30 unsold properties? Perhaps the more interesting point is that WCC maintains that "it is normal practice when purchasing a house to hire professionals to check if there are any obligations pertaining to the property concerned. During such a process, these debts would be flagged at the time of the purchase". Well I am sure that WCC is also aware that it is also normal procedure as part of a voluntary strike off for the directors to seek a Revenue statement clarifying there are no obligations relating to the company seeking a strike-off. It is also normal procedure for a notice to be put in the newspapers notifying all interested parties that the company is seeking a strike-off.
DID REVENUE GIVE THE STATEMENT STATING THAT KJK KILBRIDE WAS CLEAR OF ALL OBLIGATIONS, AND WHY DIDN'T THE MUPPETS IN WICKLOW COUNTY COUNCIL DO THEIR JOB AND OBJECT TO THE APPLICATION FOR A VOLUNTARY STRIKE-OFF WHEN THE NOTICE APPEARED IN THE NEWSPAPERS?