Electing your Council Leader
in your Home Community
21/04/2007 By National House Buyers Association
Published in Iproperty Magazine
The concept of a management body should be fairly clear to a Management
Corporations' Council' members or even many long-time strata property
owners. For non-involved owners and residents - especially first-time owners
- this form of common-interest 'governance' can be perplexing and, at times,
bewildering., what with the many parties (developers, managing agent,
management council, other buyers) involved as well as with the legal duties
of each party.
Those who have never lived in an owners' corporation (condo, apartments,
townhouses, gated communities) often do
not understand the necessity of service charges, sinking fund, rules and
volunteering to sit in the management council. For them, the 'management'
may be perceived as little more than a nebulous entity that expects prompt
payment on monthly invoices. This lack of understanding can lead to
miscommunication and misunderstanding with the general perception that condo
living is 'hard'.
Required by law
Call it by whatever name, Joint Management Body (JMB), Management
Corporation (MC), Residents Association, they are all basically a community
association of property owners looking out for their best interest. In the
first two, it is a requirement by law for strata titled property under the
Strata Titles Act, 1985 and the new Building and Common Property (Management
and Maintenance) Act, 2007 ('BCP'), whereas Residents' Association are
voluntary organizations registered as a society.
The new BCP Act now allows the formation of a joint management body from the
start and owners do not have to wait till the first annual general meeting
called by the developer to have a say in how their investment is managed and
Very often, only a small percentage of owners in condominiums or other types
of strata titled development take interest in how their properties are
managed. This leaves the handful of volunteers burned out after years of
volunteering their services. There are also some who are interested but do
not have the knowledge or skill to sit in the decision making council.
In the BCP, the joint management committee representing the purchasers'
should number at a minimum 5 purchasers, maximum 12. Whereas, in the Strata
Titles Act, the Management Council should consist of, a minimum of 3 parcel
owners, maximum 14.
Although these are voluntary positions, it has to be taken seriously because
it involves people and their investments. Most owners' corporations are
headed by a leader who might also be the chairman at meetings. Strong
leadership is an essential component of every successful owners'
corporation. Very often, those who speak the loudest at meetings are elected
which may not be sufficient for the long term.
A good leader can make a difference for an owners' corporation spirit. By
considering the strength and qualities it takes to succeed, selecting your
leader can in a very real way, lead to a more productive and happy
community. Here are some tips on how to choose the leader of your home
"A manager does things the right way and a leader does the right thing." A
leader is someone who not only recognizes the "right thing," but who can
also motivate others to help him get the right thing done. Strong leaders
should have skills, knowledge, and experience plus the abilities to motivate
How do you recognise who has this special combination of insight and
inspiration? There are personal characteristics that point to strong
leadership style. Look for people who display these particular abilities:
Ability to take criticism
- No one in a position of power will escape criticism. Leaders have
the ability to discern when criticism is valid and when it is not.
An open mind - A leader
must be able to approach a problem creatively. Perspective is an
invaluable leadership tool. A council/committee that is afraid of change
Communicate well -
Explains, persuades and praises. Some volunteers are not particularly
articulate, yet are valuable and productive. Leaders should be able to
express ideas clearly and persuasively.
Decisiveness - Taking a
stand involves making mistakes. A good leader takes a stand and if an
error is made, acknowledges it and makes a course correction.
Enthusiasm - Enthusiasm
is contagious. With it, council members are motivated to keep
volunteering. Without it, voluntary work becomes a burden.
Leads by example and
promotes teamwork - Arrives on time, never shirks responsibilities and
demonstrates good work habits. Instills cooperation among volunteers,
making it easy for them to pitch in together. Pitches in along side others
and not just issue orders for others to follow-up.
Listens to others
Source for and uses other's ideas and gives credit when credit's due.
Problem solving skill
Uses knowledge and experience to help get the job done.
genuinely caring leader inspires confidence in others. Confidence leads to
results. Leaders delegate, give and seek constructive feedback. A leader
knows how and when to give praise. Praise is the simplest and often the
most valued form of reward. A leader knows how to criticize
constructively: pointing out what is wrong without attacking
personalities. A good leader seeks opinions and ideas from others.
Sound judgment - Has the
ability to identify and prioritize issues. A good leader then weighs
alternatives carefully before making decisions.
Never blames others for problems.
- A strong leader
understands and promotes the community's best interests. Leaders set
goals, communicate what's needed to achieve them and then move toward
Here are some tips to consider
when electing the leaders of your owners' corporation:
A leader should understand the
functions of the owners' corporation and be familiar with significant
historical events of the community. Newcomers frequently make good
volunteers. However, there are some situations which call for someone
possessing a historical perspective. For example, if the corporation is in
the midst of a sensitive litigation or a new management contract, a
newcomer might detract by insisting on covering old ground again.
How much interest has the
candidate shown in the community and its undertakings? Has there been
regular meeting attendance and participation in activities? If not,
investigate the sudden interest. Be particularly careful about "one-issue"
candidates who volunteers because they dislike a certain contractor or are
opposed to a recent service charges increase.
A candidate should not have
conflicting personal and professional commitments. For example, a high
public profile candidate may have numerous commitments that mean
If all the above sounds to you like a mini-government, it is in fact one. If
you own a property with common property, you automatically become a member,
like it or not. Over time, we have noticed that home owners can be
categorized into three groups; those who make things happen, those who wait
for things to happen and those who asked what happened. Which group do you
belong to? Choose your leaders well and prosper or wait for the next
election at the annual general meeting and run for council member post.
The National House Buyers Association (HBA) is a voluntary,
non-governmental organization manned by unpaid volunteers. For more
information, check out their website at http://www.hba.org.my