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Bill spells out rights of buyers
14/12/2006 The Star

THE House passed the Building and Common Property (Maintenance and Management) Bill 2006 that will better protect buyers of common properties such as high-rise buildings.

The Bill is aimed at reducing maintenance and management problems of strata property owners that had not been properly addressed in the Housing Act and Strata Titles Act.

It will tighten loopholes at the time the buildings are occupied but the titles not yet issued.

The Bill allows a joint committee to be formed by the developers and buyers to oversee the services and maintenance of buildings during the transition.

A Commissioner of Buildings (COB) will also be appointed to oversee the services.

Developers will also be responsible for the maintenance of the properties, and penalties would be imposed on those failing to do so.

Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting said many house owners had complained of the long waiting period to receive their strata titles.

“The Act will ensure that developers cannot do anything they like and run away from the responsibility of managing and maintaining the building,” he said in his winding-up speech.

“The developer and buyers will have to form a joint management committee (JMC) within 12 months.

“The JMC will also determine the maintenance fee charges, depending on the type of building and maintenance work. This will reduce complaints of exorbitant maintenance fees.”

Ong said the developer would still be responsible for maintenance and repairs even after the units were sold.

The Bill covers all sub-divided housing units like condominiums, flats, gated communities, apartments, commercial buildings such as offices and shopping complexes, serviced apartments, mixed development sites and industrial buildings.

Ong said developers must open a building management account to finance the maintenance and repair work and submit copies to the COB.

On the penalties, he said developers could be fined up to RM20,000 if they failed to convene the first JMC meeting.

“Developers must pay the deposit for repair works, failing which they can be fined RM5,000,” he said.

“The developers will have to pay the maintenance fees of unsold units.”

Ong added that lot-owners, either developers or house owners, could be fined RM5,000 if they failed to pay the maintenance charges.

He also said that a list of guidelines would be set up to ensure smooth implementation and coordination of the Act for developers and buyers.

“Improvements on the implementation of the Bill will be discussed and approved during the National Council on Local Governments meetings chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister,” he added.

Ong said there were now 6,520 registered stratified housing schemes comprising 455,230 lots in the country.

Barisan Nasional and Opposition MPs commended the Ministry for formulating the Act, which they said would better protect the house buyers.

The House adjourned sine die after passing the Bill.


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