A place to resolve issues over your condo
FTM News
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 facilities.
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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