STRATA properties, such as apartments and condominiums, are becoming increasingly popular. It is an attractive lifestyle for many, and housing developers, seeing market demand, are increasing the amount of strata properties on offer.
However, it is important that a resident becomes aware of and understand his rights and obligations as a strata property owner. This will enable them to participate in and take responsibility for the maintenance and management of the strata building and common property in the strata development, together with other like-minded owners. Common property includes such areas as the corridors, lifts, stairways, lobby, gardens, pool areas, gymnasium and access roadways.
Residents of strata buildings need to understand the functions of strata management bodies, such as the Joint Management Body (JMB) and the Management Corporation (MC), in order to work with these bodies in ensuring a comfortable, harmonious, properly managed and secure strata living community and environment.
These management bodies are established to provide proper maintenance and management of the strata development and common property. The source of funds required for such maintenance are from the collection of service charges and sinking funds from the residents.
The Strata Management Act 2013 (SMA 2013) is the legislation which governs the maintenance and management of residential strata properties, such as apartments, condominiums, flats, townhouses, and landed strata properties in gated and guarded developments, and commercial strata properties.
The act applies only to Peninsular Malaysia and the Federal Territory of Labuan.
The various duties and functions of the JMB and the MC are set out in the act. Before the JMB is established, the strata building and common property are maintained and managed by the developer during the developer’s management period.
A JMB is established after the delivery of vacant possession of the strata property to the purchaser, but before strata titles are issued. The JMB comprises the developer and purchasers. The MC is formed upon the issuance of strata titles. The MC consists of all parcel proprietors, that is, property owners.
The act saw the introduction of the subsidiary management corporation (SMC) and limited common property. The MC will delegate the management of limited common properties to the SMC for the purpose of representing the different interests of parcel proprietors. The SMC shall comprise of all parcel proprietors of all parcels comprised in the development area for whose exclusive benefit the limited common property is designated.
Limited common property is appropriate for mixed development projects. The function of the SMC is to manage different types of limited common properties for the various owners. For example, a residential SMC manages resident-only facilities, an office SMC manages office block amenities and a shop lot SMC manages shop facilities.
Pursuant to SMA 2013, regulations known as the Strata Management (Maintenance & Management) Regulations 2015 (SMA Regulations) are made to better carry out the provisions of SMA 2013. The regulations, which may include, but are not limited to, providing for proper standards of maintenance and management in respect of buildings, common property or limited common property.
Regulations may also be made to provide generally for the performance of the functions, exercise of powers and discharge of duties of the developer, JMB, MC or subsidiary management corporation under the provisions of the act.
By-laws for regulating the control, management, and administration, use and enjoyment of the strata property and common property are prescribed under the Third Schedule of the SMA Regulations.
The said by-laws and any additional bylaws made under SMA 2013 shall bind the developer, JMB, MC or SMC, as the case may be, and the purchaser, parcel owners or proprietors, and any chargee or assignee, lessee, tenant or occupier of a parcel to the same extent as if the by-laws or the additional by-laws have been signed or sealed by each of the aforesaid person or body.
Details concerning the functions and powers of the developer, JMB, MC and SMC and their responsibility in controlling, managing and administering the common property for the benefit of all proprietors are set out in the by-laws in the Third Schedule of the SMA Regulations.
The by-laws define who a defaulter is and describes how they are to be dealt with. There are provisions setting out the general duties of and the prohibitions for a proprietor. The by-laws also deal with the parking and use of vehicles, disposal of solid waste, renovation works and repairs to the parcel, and defects to parcels caused by the condition of any parcel in the development area. The strata property owner is advised to become familiar with all these by-laws.
Ivan Chan is a partner at legal firm Amir Toh Francis & Partners. For feedback email [email protected]
The information in this article does not constitute legal advice for your specific needs. This article cannot disclose all of the risks and other factors necessary to evaluate a particular situation. Any interested party should study each situation carefully. You should seek and obtain independent legal or professional advice for your specific needs and situation.