Strata homes issues and the roles of JMB, MC, COB and SMT.

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A relative just related to me last week about the big issue in her condominium in Penang. She said, the rubbish has not been cleared for a week. The cleaners’ company were somehow not paid and thus, they refuse to do the work. The security company meanwhile has threatened to stop working unless they are paid soon. It’s not because of the lack of funds though, more of the issue with the current Management Corporation (MC). There were problems with the team and thus, they are now going for an AGM to re-elect a new team. There were accusations being hurled about and she said she just hope that the new MC will be able to carry out their role responsibly and without any ‘hanky-panky.’ However, on an overall basis, it seems that the cases being filed with the Strata Management Tribunal is on the rise. Earlier article. Maintenance is key to high-rise’s value.

Article in edgeprop.my here. Lawyer Chris Tan said that since 2015, the cases filed with the Strata Management Tribunal (SMT) has been increasing. SMT has recorded about 10,000 cases since it was established. In 2017, there were 4,390 cases whereas there were 2,355 cases in the first half of 2018. Most of them were maintenance fee collection related. The Homebuyer Tribunal recorded 45,000 cases since its establishment in Jan 2003. In 2017, 2,082 cases were recorded.

Tan explained the difference between SMT and Homebuyer Tribunal. The Homebuyer Tribunal or TTPR was established under the Housing Development (Control and Licensing) Act 1966. It is to hear disagreements between property purchases and developers. It also has the jurisdiction to determine a claim less than RM50,000. For strata properties-related issues, property owners could make a claim under Section 107 of the Strata Managament Act (SMA) before the SMT for claims up to RM250,000. Some issues that can be brought to the SMT are disagreements over decisions by the MC or JMB, disputed over maintenance cost or misuse of sinking funds, by-law amendments and debt recovery.

According to Tan, strata property owners should seek help from the Commissioner of Buildings (COB) first before filing complaints to the SMT when they find themselves mired in strata related problems. For instance, the COB could step in and appoint a managing agent when a management committee failed to be formed during an Annual General Meeting. COBs are formed by district and city councils like MPKJ and DBK. The COBs are tasked to regulate the MC and JMB as well as enforcing the provisions in the Strata Management Act (SMA), keep records of all audited accounts, AGM minutes and the additional by-laws by the MC and JMB and a trustee to common property defects account.

Tan also shared that a recent case where MPKJ’s COB seized movable properties of owners who did not pay maintenance fees in Vista Seri Putra in Bandar Seri Putra, Bangi. The COB was visited by the MC of Vista Seri Putra for help as owners were owing charges amounting to RM5,000 to RM9,735 which had accumulated over the past few years. COB then got the police to issue warrants against the owners and to confiscate movable properties. After this incident, the the collection rate of the apartment increased by 38%. Tan said however that the COB’s role is limited to the role of enforcer for the SMA, making their power subject to the SMT.  For issues which could not be handled by the COB such as to remove the entire JMB or MC, owners will have to bring the case to the SMT. Please read the full article for reference in edgeprop.my here.

Perhaps I have been fortunate thus far, in all the high-rise homes I have been staying everything has been smooth with just some occasional hiccups here and there. By the way, strata homes are usually high-rise but these days, many newer landed homes are stratified developments as well. Maintenance fees should also be paid or else…(read here) For anyone with more questions on this topic, do send in your questions and I will ask Lawyer Chris Tan for his views. His usual consultation charges are very high but hopefully he will do it for kopiandproperty.com for free. I will tell him that all kopiandproperty.com readers are his future potential customers. Happy understanding and learning.

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

Next suggested article: Buying a property. It is a good asset? 3 issues here.

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