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Proper guidelines on property management in times of crisis needed

KUALA LUMPUR (March 25): Property managers are calling for clearer guidelines to be drafted by the government and relevant authorities on how property managers should conduct their duties during periods of crisis such as the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

“We do understand that this is ‘unprecedented’ and that there is a lot of key learning that we can gather from this crisis. Hence, we look forward to a proper statutory law and standard operating procedures to be introduced and implemented in order to manage crisis situations in future,” said SCM Property Services Sdn Bhd general manager Paul Richard.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the implementation of a Movement Control Order in Malaysia until April 14 (extended from March 31).

“With effective plans in place and trusted sources for information - including maintaining and monitoring information, ensuring timely updates from public health departments to the public, property managers will be able to disseminate the right information and plans to manage the situation and prevent panic situations,” Richard shared with EdgeProp.my.

He noted that as the property management industry in Malaysia has become more complex and challenging, there is a pressing need to formulate and produce a set of practical guidelines for the management of high-rise residential buildings in this country.

“A thorough review of existing legislations by the experts and considering the views from all related parties can greatly improve the effectiveness of the property management system,” he said.

He added that it is imperative that extensive rules and guidelines go hand in hand with strict enforcement and monitoring to ensure their effectiveness in solving the problems of high-rise residential living.

Meanwhile, Henry Butcher Malaysia (Mont’Kiara) Sdn Bhd executive director Low Hon Keong called on the Board of Valuers, Appraisers, Estate Agents and Property Managers (BOVAEP) to be more involved in advising its members and to provide a clearer course of action in times of crisis such as this.

“I urge everyone in the property management industry especially parcel owners and residents to religiously follow the directions given by the authorities. I am totally aware of the inconvenience but all this is temporary.

“We need to sacrifice now and look at the bigger picture – which is to prevent the spread of this virus. I would also like to address an appreciation and recognition to all building management personnel namely maintenance crew, concierge, management office staff and also our security, cleaners and domestic waste disposal team for delivering these essential services during this difficult time,” said Low.

“Since none of us has gone through this situation before, this is the time for us to utilise our experience and common sense in providing practical solutions in compliance with the MCO,” he added.

According to a directive by the Housing and Local Government Ministry (KPKT) on March 21, the Commissioner of Building must advise strata property owners and managers to heed the following measures:

Limit movement within a strata scheme except for critical issues such as medical, cleaning and food supply

Malaysians must not travel overseas and must not allow foreign visitors and tourists into their strata schemes

Avoid or postpone social gatherings

Practice social distancing

Non-essential communal facilities such as gymnasiums, swimming pools and playgrounds must be closed

Business premisesand educational centres in strata schemes must be closed except for essential services

Postpone all renovation works or non-essential maintenance works

Management offices of strata schemes should operate in a minimal mode according to appropriate implementation – for example, online transactions; and should remain closed to the public with active communication channels provided.

Essential services which include supply of utilities, cleaning, security, sewerage, mechanical and electrical must not be disrupted.

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