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Ensuring co-operation
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 Ministry.

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.

Initial period

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 common property.

Interim period

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 property.

Final period

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 matters

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.


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