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Property Investment: If you refuse to pay maintenance fees…

maintenance fees

Property Investment: If you refuse to pay maintenance fees…

Frankly, I am not so sure what the management of my condo could do to me if I did not pay my maintenance fees on time. I do think they will deactivate my access cards which meant that I could not drive my car in as an owner but I do think they cannot stop me from coming in as a guest and park my car at the guest car park.

Oh yeah, I also cannot go into lobby with my access card but I am sure they will still allow me entry as an owner? Would I still be able to book the facilities then I wonder? Maybe not since all of these are done electronically and it’s quite easy for them to deactivate this as well. Well, let’s listen to the expert then.

Article in propertyguru.com.my According to the Strata Management Act 2013, homeowners must pay for the maintenance fees and sinking fund. Now, should the landlord fail/refuse to pay up, the management body can sue and take his/her assets away, or the tenant can terminate the agreement immediately!

Actions which can be taken against owners under SMA

Under the SMA, homeowners must pay for the maintenance fees and sinking fund, for the upkeep and management of the residential blocks and public facilities.

In other words, the owner (in this case, your landlord) is required by law to pay up, no excuses!

If he/she fails to pay the maintenance fees after a 14 days’ demand notice, the management body can SUE the owners.

This can take place in either the Court or Strata Management Tribunal (SMT) for recovery of the unpaid maintenance fees.

Besides that, the SMA also states that it’s a criminal offence if the owner (without reasonable excuse) fails to comply with the 14 days’ demand notice.

Upon conviction, the owner can be fined not more than RM5,000 or jailed not more than 3 years, or BOTH!

Furthermore, the management body can also apply to the Commissioner of Building (COB) for a warrant to seize any movable assets belonging to the owner (inside the property, or elsewhere in the state).

Yes, you heard that right, the management body can get a warrant to seize the TV, sofa and other movable items which can be found in the unit or other places in the state.

If I am just the tenant, would anything happen to me?

Under the Third Schedule of Strata Management (Maintenance and Management) Regulations 2015, regulation 6 has defined a defaulter to be: ‘an owner who has not fully paid the maintenance fees’.

In addition, it states that restriction or action can be imposed against the defaulter, including ‘his family, charge, assignee, successor-in-title, lessee, tenant or occupier of his parcel’. (YES, it includes the TENANT too…)

Therefore, if your landlord has not paid the maintenance fees, the management body can impose certain restriction or action against you as tenant!

Here are some of the restrictions and actions allowed under the regulation:

  • The management body can display a list of defaulters on the notice board in the building
  • The management body can deactivate access cards
  • The management body can stop you from using the common facilities

Although the management body can deactivate your access card, they have absolutely no power to stop you from entering your unit.

Hence, you’d still be able to gain entry to your unit by registering yourself at the guardhouse, or getting the guards’ assistance to access the lift. By the way, the article is a comprehensive one. Please do read it here: Article in propertyguru.com.my

It’s best to have a great landlord-tenant relationship

If I am a tenant, I love a professional landlord who will pay the maintenance fees on time and stop giving me excuses every time I need help. For example, to fix the aircon… to fix the refrigerator… to fix the master-room door knobs and more. Yeah, all these were real issues which was dealt by me the landlord for my tenant super promptly. If I am to expect my tenant to be professional and pay their rental on time, I should be a good landlord too, right?

All the above tenants with the issues mentioned above, all paid their rental on time every month, year after year. Haha. Unfortunately, one has recently given notice as she had bought a new condo nearby the beach in Penang. Yeah, go and guess which beach in Penang yeah. She’s the one whom I have NEVER needed to remind on rental for the last 2.5 years. I do wonder if the next tenant could be like her as well.

As for the aircon one, happy to report that he is still renting and still paying rental on time. In fact, about the fixing the aircon, the person paid FIRST… then the person deducted it from the rental for the following month. By the way, I offered to tt the person but the person said it’s okay, just two weeks’ difference from the rental payment anyway. I hope this person will stay many more years!

Do you have good stories to tell? Please share to meiyun@kopiandproperty.com If your sharing is published, you will receive a good book for free from Dr. Peter Yee. This is the book. Book Review: Property Investment Wisdom by Dr. Peter Yee Happy reading and thank you for sharing.

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Next suggested article: Property is no longer a key retirement asset

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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Charles Tan The Founder The Writer Kopiandproperty
Charles Tan

Charles is Founder of kopiandproperty.com He writes from his investment experience for the the past 20 years in investments including property, stock, unit trust and more as well as readings and conversations with many property gurus in the industry. kopiandproperty.com is an independent property blog which is not affiliated to any media company, property developer or even real estate agencies.

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