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Residential and commercial lots in mixed developments without strata title must be charged same maintenance rates, court rules

PUTRAJAYA (May 21): Residential and commercial lots within a mixed development without strata titles that are managed by a joint management body (JMB) must now be charged the same maintenance rates.

This follows the Federal Court three-member bench led by Court of Appeal president Datuk Rohana Yusuf upholding the Court of Appeal’s decision on the matter after it denied JMB Menara Rajawali and Denflow Sdn Bhd permission to appeal the decision.

JMB Menara Rajawali is the joint management body of Menara Rajawali, a mixed development project in Subang Jaya, while Denflow is the owner of car park parcels of the development.

On Oct 4 last year, the Court of Appeal allowed an appeal by 56-year-old Muhamad Nazri Muhamad, who is a resident of Menara Rajawali, to challenge the different rates of maintenance charges accorded to residence and commercial units on the basis that they discriminated between retail shops and residential parcels, and were unlawful as they went against the power of the JMB or joint management committee.

This appeal came after the High Court dismissed Muhamad Nazri's action where he claimed a provision in the Strata Management Act 2013 limits the power of the JMB to determine the maintenance charges for different types of parcels, such as residential and commercial types.

In dismissing the appeal today, Justice Rohana, who sat with Federal Court Judges Datuk P Nalini and Datuk Zabariah Mohd Yusof, ordered Menara Rajawali JMB to pay RM20,000 costs and Denflow to pay RM10,000.

The two had filed seven questions of law to be determined by the apex court, should it allow them permission to appeal.

Muhamad Nazri was represented by counsel Raymond Mah and Datuk Joy Appukuttan while counsels A Onn and SP Ng appeared for Menara Rajawali JMB and Denflow.

Commenting on the decision today, Joy said with the dismissal of the leave application by the Federal Court, the Court of Appeal's decision had been affirmed.

“There cannot be different rates of maintenance charges. JMBs which have been applying different rates must immediately cease and convene an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to fix a single rate of maintenance charges. Otherwise, they would be flouting the law,” he said.

“The decision means each property owner will pay a single maintenance or service charge rate in proportion to their share of the unit in the property,” he added.

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