Star Property Insights By CHRISTOPHER BOYD
Professional services of registered valuers a good alternative as they
have the expertise.
IF you are buying a condo in Malaysia, here are a couple of things they
donít tell you in the advertisements.
The first thing is all about the condominium principle. This is a concept
drawn together by Western idealists from crowded socialist European
countries where they reckon they might have perfected the rules for all
living on top of each other. Brief historical research would also reveal
that the same countries also probably hold world records for civil war,
communal strife and suppression of minorities but that is all confined to
history and so should do nothing to dent their credibility.
Basically, the condominium principle is a bit of starry-eyed dogma
inspired by the works of Karl Marx. It makes some sweeping assumptions
about the desire of the individual to act only in the common good and
dictates that any areas outside oneís own unit are all jointly owned for
the benefit of the community. This can be anathema to any free-spirited
Malaysian who sees the colonisation of his corridor and the ability to
park anywhere any time as being merely matters for negotiation.
You can probably guess the second thing about the condominium principle,
which is that it creates a small bureaucracy with far-reaching powers
extending right up to oneís front door. It assumes that owners will
clamour to donate their time and energy to this public service, whereas
the more canny ones will of course stay at home, leaving the way open to
those who are either naÔve or power-crazy.
Malaysians are all generally quite smart so it is no surprise that joint
management boards and management corporations are often run by Klaus or
Pierre. Those owners who have declined involvement usually regard these
committees with a certain amount of suspicion, surpassed only by their
general contempt for the original developers who initially managed the
property and then left with the accounts in a mess.
Malaysia now has nearly 10,000 stratified projects and some, particularly
in the low-cost sector, are in serious decline, having reached a point
where the arrears of service charge are so formidable that it is
impossible to provide minimal service standards.
Despite recent amendments to the Strata Title Act, it is going to take
some time to sort some of them out.
It is in this climate that the professional property manager finds himself
invited to take control.
In fact, managing common areas is a task that can be performed without
professionals by the joint management board or the management corporation
which is formed when strata titles are issued. It can be achieved by
directly employing suitable staff. However, that is very time consuming
for the committee, which has to monitor these operations on a voluntary
basis. They may also face unwanted legal liability if mistakes are made.
The alternative is to engage the professional services of a registered
valuer. Under Malaysian law, only registered valuers can provide property
management services on a professional basis. They have the expertise, and
they carry professional indemnity insurance.
These are the principal functions of the property management professional
in a condo:
Financial Management: Budgeting, collection of service charges and sinking
fund, payment of salaries and other recurrent operating costs and keeping
Maintenance: Routine inspections, monitoring the specialist service
providers, scheduling preventive maintenance, dealing with day-to-day
Cleaning and landscaping: Monitoring and maintaining high standards.
Security: Formulate procedures, monitor and inspect.
House rules: Propose, communicate and implement a complete set of rules.
Insurance: Review, quantify and advise.
Reporting: Monthly and annual budgets and reports.
If you are in need of the professional services of a property manager, you
can get a list of registered persons from the Institution of Surveyors, on
03-79551773 or 03-79569728. Alternatively, you can log on to the website
of the Board of Valuers at
Bon chance, Pierre.
∑The writer is executive chairman of Regroup Associates Sdn Bhd property