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Building and Common Property Bill - ‘Know your role first’
30/11/2006 Malay Mail By Meera Murugesan  

IT signals an end to house-buyers’ woes but property owners and developers must be prepared to handle it.

The Building and Common Property (Maintenance and Management) Bill, which would lead to the appointment of Commissioner of Buildings (COB) in every State to handle disputes about management services of high-rise dwellings, is a commendable move, said Chang Kim Loong, secretary-general of the National House Buyers Association of Malaysia.

He said HBA hopes that instead of implementing the Bill immediately after it is passed, the Government should wait for about six months to enable certain steps be put into place.

It was reported yesterday that the Bill would be tabled in Parliament next month or at its next sitting.

“Before it is implemented, we need a grace period to ensure that all parties involved understand their responsibilities and the intricacies and workings of the Bill,” said Chang.

“First, we need a proper training programme to educate potential property owners, developers and appointed management agents of their rights and responsibilities,” he said.

He said the Government should also provide a detailed manual on the workings and intricacies of this Bill, preferably in all major languages and presented in a format that a layman could relate to.

“Otherwise, it would be difficult for people to comprehend the legal jargon and understand the requirements and instructions in this Bill,” said Chang.

Advertisements informing the public about the Bill or educational roadshows would also be beneficial, he said.

He suggested that the Government set up a special department or a hotline service so people can have their inquiries about the bill attended to, or have their problems addressed.

Currently, a developer manages a property until the residents themselves form a building committee upon receiving their strata titles.

But project maintenance during this interim period has seen problems and there has been no legal remedy so far if buyers are unhappy with the developer’s building management or if the developer is not carrying out proper maintenance.

“This interim period is like ‘the twilight zone’ and is often a time of endless feuding between the relevant parties,” said Chang.

“This feud can go on for years, but at least now, the COB would help them sort out their problems.”


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