14/04/2007 The Star
House buyers will heave a sigh of relief now that the Building and Common
Property (Maintenance and Management) Act 2007 has been gazetted.
It means the Act can be enforced and the state government empowered to
appoint a Commissioner of Building (COB) to settle disputes and to ensure
smooth management of the building even after strata titles are issued.
The COB will help to resolve problems related to the maintenance and
management of subdivided buildings, especially during the period between
vacant possession and the formation of the management corporation.
The main responsibilities and authority of the COB are to:
ADMINISTER and resolve issues related to the Act
APPOINT an auditor who is approved to investigate matters related to
accounts and transactions of the Building Maintenance account
APPOINT a person to convene the first meeting of the Joint Management Body (JMB)
if the developer fails to do so
APPOINT a managing agent to maintain and manage common property if the
maintenance and management of a building is not carried out satisfactorily
by developer or JMB
TAKE action against parcel purchasers who fail to pay maintenance charges
either through court action, attachment of property or by issuing compound
USE the deposit paid by the developer to carry out rectification of
defective works during the defect liability period
For buildings that will be subdivided and those with issued strata titles, a
“common property” area exists.
Currently the maintenance and management of such an area is under the
Housing Development (Control and License) 1966 (Act 118) which is under the
Housing and Local Government Ministry, and the Strata Title 1985 (Act 318)
which is under the jurisdiction of the Natural Resources and Environment
According to schedule H of Act 118, the developer is responsible for the
management and control of the common property before the formation of the
Management Corporation (MC) and in accordance with Act 318, after the
issuance of the strata title, the MC is solely responsible for all matters
relating to common property.
A common complaint of property owners is the delay in obtaining strata
titles, whereby the developer is compelled to be in charge of the common
property for a prolonged period.
Features of the Property (Maintenance and Management) Act 2007
Maintenance and management of the building under the Act covers all
categories of buildings which will be subdivided and issued strata titles.
They include condominiums, apartments, gated community developments, flats,
commercial buildings like offices, shopping complexes, mixed developments,
and industrial buildings.
The figure (right) illustrates the three different periods in the
maintenance of common property.
The initial period starts from the handing over of vacant possession (VP) to
the property owners by the developer.
The developer is responsible for the maintenance and management of the
Within 12 months after the VP, the developer is responsible for calling the
first AGM of the JMB, which comprises the developer and property owners.
The JMB will be responsible for the maintenance and management of the common
The final period covers the period commencing from the first meeting of the
MC. The Joint Management Body The Act provides details on the roles and
responsibilities of the JMB such as:
INFORMING the COB of name of body
MANAGING and maintaining the common property in the manner stipulated
MANAGING the building maintenance fund collected from parcel purchasers
KEEPING a register of purchasers
KEEPING a copy of the house rules
ADMINISTERING the building maintenance fund and sinking fund
HOLDING an annual general meeting of the body.
The rights and obligations of a purchaser
The purchaser has the obligation to pay maintenance charges in the manner
stated in the Act. In addition, he has to pay any interest arising out of
his failure to pay charges within the period prescribed.
It is also the duty of the purchaser to follow the house rules.
The Management Corporation (MC)
The final period of the maintenance and management of common property falls
under the MC.
The MC is a corporate body and has perpetual succession with a common seal.
The responsibilities of the MC are:
MANAGING and maintaining the common property including related financial
ENSURING that the property is insured
ENSURING that the notices and direction of local authorities are adhered to
MAINTAINING a register of the strata owners.
This Act is aimed at a more systematic approach to eliminate problems
related to the maintenance and management of common property.
The creation of the COB ensures that all parties involved, be it the
developer or purchaser, plays a role.
The developer, JMB or MC has to make sure that charges collected for
maintenance will be managed more effectively and property owners are
required to pay charges or face legal action.