Unrectified defects, stubborn owners who refuse to comply with house rules, late issuance of strata titles, inter-floor leaks — these are some of the issues that may bring grief to strata residential owners.

But how can they resolve these problems? In order to bring certainty to strata property owners, Chur Associates founder and managing partner Chris Tan offered a simple three-step problem-solving method for common issues that crop up in strata living:

1.            Identify the people you will be dealing with
2.            Be clear and find out all you can about the issue
3.            Know what the options are to solve the problem

“As a strata property owner, you must know and be aware of the kind of problems you could face in community living, who you will be up against, and how you can go about resolving the issue,” Tan told the audience at the EdgeProp.my Symposium on Excellent Property Management 2018 on May 12. Themed “Mistakes you CAN’T afford to make!”, the symposium was organised by EdgeProp.my with partners Nippon Paint Malaysia and Panasonic Malaysia. Supporting sponsors were Gamuda Land, Red Ideas Sdn Bhd (Graaab JaGaApp) and Zurich General Insurance Malaysia Bhd. The event was also supported by The Edge Malaysia.

Tan was speaking on the topic “What if? Why? How? — Legal problems and solutions”.

For a start, homeowners are advised to identify the players in communal living so they can get the right body or person to address the issue. Some problems can be solved merely by communicating with the right person.

“How do you win the game if you do not know who the players are? So we must know all the players in communal living. They would be the homeowners, property management such as the JMB (joint management body) or MC (management corporation), the property manager and the developer.

“For instance, you would probably have an issue that you need to communicate with the property management. Do you know who the chairman of the MC is? Do you know who to call, should a problem arise?” he asked.

Secondly, he urged homeowners to be proactive in empowering themselves with knowledge on strata living and management. More importantly, they should find out the options that they have in resolving an issue.

Quoting former international trade and industry minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, Tan said Malaysia is like a big house that needs good managers or a house that needs to be built by a good contractor. “Residents need to review the performance of their contractor and they can change the contractor if they are not satisfied with the performance.

“What we have learnt from the last few days is the word ‘option’. We realise that we have a choice, don’t we? Participation is the key and the power is in your hands,” he told the audience at the symposium, referring to the outcome of the country’s recently concluded 14th General Election.

Tan offered that there are plenty of options for homeowners to resolve their issues, depending on the nature of the issue and the people they are dealing with.

Among the options are to seek help from the authorities, bring it up to the respective tribunal or to the courts and even to the media.

“The first thing we should always do is to ask for clarification because half of the problems will probably be solved after things are clarified. And then, the next thing to do is negotiate. If you can solve it at this level, you wouldn’t need to escalate to the next stage.

“It is important for us to know the process and the stakeholders in communal living because once you know all of these, the answer will become clearer and make sense to you,” he concluded.

This story first appeared in EdgeProp.my pullout on May 17, 2018. Download EdgeProp.my pullout here for free.

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