THOUSANDS of homeowners are being forced to pay management company fees because county councils are not taking over the running of housing estates.
At least 400 housing estates which should have been completed at least two years ago have not been taken in charge by local authorities across the country, new figures obtained by the Irish Independent reveal.
And in one county alone --Donegal -- there is an estimated 699 private housing developments, comprising over 13,000 homes, where homeowners are forced to pay for the upkeep of roads, sewerage systems and public open spaces.
Yesterday An Taisce slammed the situation, saying that councils were reluctant to take over the running of estates which were not built to the proper standard.
"They (homeowners) can often feel very isolated and, coupled with that, local councils are reluctant to take over the maintenance of an area until the development has been completed," Ian Lumley said.
"That's understandable because they see it as the responsibility of the developer to bring the area up to the proper standard before they take over."
Each local authority in the country was asked by the Irish Independent to provide details on the number of housing estates it expected to take in charge this year, and to state how many estates were finished more than two years ago but not yet taken over. Just nine replied -- including Donegal.
Cavan County Council had 42 estates completed more than two years ago but not yet taken over, with 60 estates -- totalling 1,200-1,500 homes -- not completed to the required standard.
Kilkenny County Council said it had 19 estates with 895 homes not completed to the standard as outlined in the planning permission.
The Green Party's Cllr David Healy from north Co Dublin said the problem was "very worrying".
"This problem is very worrying for people living in these unfinished or partially unoccupied estates. In my local area, added to this is the pyrite problem (a mineral which affects the structure of a house) and many people have had to move out for some time until it is resolved," he said.