Are You Frustrated by The State of Your Condominium, Apartment or Flat? Exercise Your Rights as an Owner – Part One

Fire Rated Door

You’re back home after a long day’s work and are driving around the development looking for a parking bay as the car park bays are not assigned. Finally, you find a parking bay in a secluded location. As you are walking to the lobby, you nearly fell in the drain because the drain covers have been stolen and the area is not well lit. You reach the lobby and find the lifts are faulty. You have to walk up 15 storeys to your unit. As you go up the stairs, you find the staircase is filthy with dirt and cigarette buds and it stinks from urine smell. It’s very dark as many of the lights are faulty too. The fire rated door knobs are missing and its left open as the door closers are faulty. The railings are so rusty and it’s a matter of time before they break. You’re sweaty and frustrated; you head to the washroom to shower. As you’re applying soap, you feel something dripping on your head. You turn up and find water dripping through the ceiling from the unit above!

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Faulty Lights

This is not a fictional story. This is the sorry state of many stratified developments in Johor. We work very hard to pay the monthly mortgage commitment and all we want is peaceful enjoyment of our home and its amenities. As landlords, we renovate the property extensively and put it up for rent. But it’s almost impossible to find a tenant primarily because of the state of the facilities. As a result, the market value of the property continues to drop. Who is to be blamed? Instead of pointing fingers, let’s do something about it.

Do you know that as an owner of a stratified development, you are part owner of the common area and common facilities too?

Strata Legislations & Authorities

Missing Drain

Before we discuss about exercising our rights, let’s first understand the existing legislations and authorities involved. All stratified properties are governed by Strata Management Act 2013 (Act 757) and its Regulations for Maintenance & Management and Regulations for Strata Management Tribunal which came into force in June 2015.

Strata properties comprise of high rise or low rise residential buildings, commercial buildings including retail, offices, malls and mixed developments. It also includes landed stratified developments. In layman’s term, stratified property means a land under a particular lot subdivided into parcels. The parcels can be built vertically upwards or/and below ground or horizontally.

The Strata Management Act is very comprehensive and wide ranging, covering almost every aspect of strata living with the primary objective of regulating the control, management, administration, use and enjoyment of the strata development.

The administration of the act is led by the Commissioner of Buildings (COB) (Pesuruhjaya Bangunan). Each Local Authority has its COB division which is headed by the Mayor (Datuk Bandar) or Yang Dipertua (YDP).

There are 15 Local Authorities in Johor and around 85% of the strata properties fall under the jurisdiction of 2 Local Authorities, namely Majlis Bandaraya Johor Bahru (MBJB) and Majlis Bandaraya Iskandar Puteri (MBIP).

The Strata Management Tribunal was established under the purview of the Housing and Local Government Ministry in mid 2015 except in Johor which was established about 1 year later. Strata Management Tribunal is a cheap and speedy alternative to filing a civil suit. In the next issue, we’ll discuss further on your rights as an owner.