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Of leaking units and maintenance fee defaulters for strata owners

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If we suffer from a leaking unit because of the unit above us, what can we do? Well, we could drop by the unit above us and asked for ‘assistance’. We could also ask the management office for assistance to investigate too and even help to liaise with the owner of the unit above us. Thus far, I have faced this issue twice (both times in KL for two different condos) and somehow, the owner of the unit above me was proactive enough to quickly solve the issue without much fuss. I think it’s because I asked nicely. ūüôā¬† ¬†What about newly completed high-rise units where the owners conveniently ‘forgotten’ to pay maintenance fees with the reasoning that they will be selling the unit anyway, thus the new owner can minus the outstanding maintenance fees from the selling price later. What if 30 percent of the owners have the same thought? Well, very soon the maintenance of the development would suffer and it will affect ALL units and not just the 30 percent who chose not to pay, yet. Can we take some useful actions against these ‘forgetful’ owners?

As per article in NST. According to¬†National House Buyers Association (HBA), actions can be taken against these defaulters under the Strata Management Act (SMA) and the Strata Management (Maintenance and Management) Regulations (SMR). Its honorary secretary general Chang Kim Loong said,¬†‚ÄúUnder SMR, the management can publish the details of defaulters on the building‚Äôs notice board, deactivate electromagnetic access cards and suspend a defaulter from using common facilities.‚ÄĚ Sometimes, this is not effective because the defaulter may not live in the unit. Thus, another way is through the Housing and Strata Management Tribunal (TPPS) or a commissioner of buildings (COB).¬† The TPPS is headquartered in Putrajaya and it has offices in Johor Bahru, Kuala Terengganu and Kepala Batas in Penang. It has several courts across Peninsular Malaysia. Its jurisdiction is limited to¬†Peninsular Malaysia and Labuan while Sabah and Sarawak’s housing matters in the two states coming under the jurisdiction of their respective state housing ministries.

Change shared, ‚ÄúFirst, the management of a condominium or apartment complex has to serve a written notice to the defaulter to pay up within 14 days. Failing that, the management can go to the TPPS to recover the outstanding sum.‚Ä̬† If TPPS has made a decision and the defaulters still fail to comply, they are liable for a¬†maximum fine of RM250,000 or a jail term of up to three years or both. Any apartment owner who continues to be¬†in default after the tribunal‚Äôs ruling is liable to a further fine of up to RM5,000 a day. The cost to file a case with TPPS is just RM100.¬† If the management committee goes through a COB, then the¬†defaulters‚Äô movable properties could be seized and auctioned off.¬† (Movable here means everything inside the home, usually)¬† Here’s that full article in NST again.¬†

TPPS website is here. www.kpkt.gov.my¬† ¬†The Putrajaya HQ’s contact details as below:

Tribunal Perumahan Dan Pengurusan Strata (TPPS)
Aras 3, No. 51, Presint 4, Persiaran Perdana, 62100 Putrajaya.
Tel : +(6)03-8891 3284 (Hotline)
Faks : +(6)03-8891 4755
Emel : tribunal@kpkt.gov.my

Yes, strata owners do have a place to lodge an effective complaint if the friendly approach does not work well. Anyway, as I have explained, my friendly approach to the two owners worked, so I did not need to go to the TPPS. Oh yeah, in one of my case, the management office helped tremendously in the ‘talking’ part. The owner called me almost immediately to tell me the timelines and hope that I could accept his proposal and to tell the management office of my agreement. He was still staying there and he does not want the management to take any actions that would inconvenience him. After his contractor has completed the work, he Whatsapped me the photo too. Happy speaking in a friendly manner first but TPPS is ever ready to accept your complaint too.

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written on 20 March 2018

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