A place to resolve issues over your condo
08 September 2016
Chang Kim Loong
PETALING JAYA: Are you angry with a difficult neighbour in your
apartment block who refuses to fix a leak that flows into your unit?
Are you frustrated that your condominium’s management is being
secretive about its accounts?
The good news is that there is a place to resolve such issues and it was established more than a year ago.
Many people are still unaware of the existence of the Strata Management
Tribunal (SMT), says the Secretary-General of the National House Buyers
Association, Chang Kim Loong.
The tribunal came into being under the Strata Management Act, specifically Act 757, which came into force in June last year.
Speaking to FMT on the issue of maintenance of flats, apartments and
condominiums, Chang said anyone, from a resident to a representative of
a management body, who feels aggrieved by any party in relation to
issues with properties can take his case to the tribunal.
“Once the tribunal makes a ruling, those involved must comply with it,”
he said. “As an example, if a neighbour’s house is leaking and it’s
affecting your wall or ceiling and he refuses to fix it, you can take
the neighbour to the tribunal.”
refusing to comply is a criminal offence
Any party refusing to comply with the tribunal’s ruling would be committing a criminal offence, Chang pointed out.
In the case of maintenance fee defaulters, he said the tribunal also provided an avenue to residents and maintenance bodies.
The issue of defaulting on maintenance fees in Malaysia is a
long-standing problem, with many apartment and condominium management
bodies being owed huge sums in arrears.
This leads to maintenance and management issues, such as the inability
to carry out building repairs, cleaning services and maintenance of
The only problem is dealing with properties owned by foreigners who do
not stay in the country. Chang anticipated such problems to increase as
more condos are bought by foreigners.
In some countries, he pointed out, tighter laws ensured better
compliance. He cited the example of Singapore, where those who fail to
settle maintenance fees risk having their properties seized.
On the part of home owners, Chang said it was crucial for them to
realise that the market value of their properties was interlinked with
proper management and maintenance of common properties.
In Malaysia, he said, this realisation was sorely lacking in owners of medium-cost and low-cost stratified properties.
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