Can maintenance fees in high-rise units go up continuously?

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I went to visit a low-density high-rise project last month. Less than 100 units. Viewed a few unit and one attracted me the most. A nice unit of over 1,350 sq ft. I like the design too. Location is in a quiet neighbourhood. When I asked about the maintenance fee per sq ft, it’s 65 sen. In other words, RM900 per month for maintenance fee alone. Another issue with low-density project is that the facilities are likely to be limited too. Too few units to share the burden of facility maintenance meant as few as possible is built. Anyway, I am not yet a super-wealthy businessman who thinks of RM900 as spare change. 😛 RM900 is enough for my monthly food expenses. Perhaps the next question is this, ‘Will the 65 sen per sq ft get higher in the future?’ The answer is definitely a yes. Reasons for the maintenance fee increase? Let’s read about it from the sharing of Chris Tan.

Article in edgeprop.my here. Reasons maintenance fees are increased? Low Density development. The reason is because it is shared by fewer units. Plus the Defects and Liability Period is already over too. Can maintenance fees be increased? Yes, developers may have underestimated the maintenance fees when they were marketing their homes. Thus, when professional managers were appointed, they recommended better security and more maintenance and cleaning shifts for example.

Chris’s ‘make sense advice is this, “If I am advising the person who is complaining about the steep hike in maintenance fee (in the above case), I would want to know the easiest way to get everybody involved so they can all participate in the management of the place and therefore determine the charges. Once you get involved, then you will know whether the 35 sen or 65 sen psf is justified and you will also know all the nitty gritty details and be able to decide on the level of [maintenance] class you want.”

He also shared this when asked what should be the next course of action if they are unhappy with the new higher maintenance fee. He said, “Then people will ask me, what do I do? Sell and exit. If you feel that this building’s maintenance cost is going up and will go up even further beyond what you think is reasonable and so forth, then the best thing to do is ask yourself whether you should dispose of this property, exit and go to another scheme? You bought it on your own, you can exit on your own.” The full article is much longer. Do read it here. Article in edgeprop.my here.

Remember, the cost to clean the swimming pool is the same whether it’s shared by 500 owners or 100 owners. This is why the maintenance fee per sq ft will be different. I think it makes sense to join the management committee if one is truly unhappy with the justification of maintenance fee increase. Once we get to know the actual reasons and we are unwilling to accept, perhaps it’s time to take a look at the thousands and thousands of other potential high-rise choices? Here are some tips on evaluating other high-rise projects too. Let’s also remember that the lower the density, the higher the maintenance fees. This is true even for stratified gated and guarded homes. Happy joining the committee and spending our time productively. (learning and understanding the WHY)

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Article written and edited by Charles. News article summarised by Dina Batrisyia.

written on 13 March 2019

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