PETALING JAYA (May 22): Many strata property owners may have sought waivers or discounts on maintenance fees since the Covid-19 outbreak and the ensuing Movement Control Order (MCO) period but such fee waivers and discounts are not viable as any adjustments in fee collection or sinking funds will need the approval of property owners via an AGM or EGM, said Chur Associates founder and managing partner Chris Tan.
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Tan was speaking during EdgeProp.my’s FB Live Fireside Chat on ‘Property management now and post pandemic: Woes | Legality | Reality’ held last night. Other panelists were Architect Centre Sdn Bhd accredited architect and trainer Anthony Lee Tee and Henry Butcher Malaysia (Mont’Kiara) Sdn Bhd executive director Low Hon Keong. The session was moderated by EdgeProp Malaysia managing director and editor-in-chief Au Foong Yee. The Fireside Chat was supported by Matrix Concepts Holdings Bhd and Panasonic Malaysia.
Tan noted that under current laws and regulations, it is compulsory to have the physical presence of property owners in an AGM or EGM. However, according to the Housing and Local Government Ministry’s SOP in light of the Covid-19 updated May 20, 2020, Joint Management Bodies (JMBs) and Management Corps (MCs) cannot hold any AGMs and EGMs. “Besides, it would not be workable due to social distancing measures,” Tan added.
Furthermore, current laws also do not support virtual or online AGM or EGMs to be held as the Strata Management Act 2013 states that physical presence of owners is required.
“Even if online AGMs are allowed, would it be accessible to all especially those in low-cost or affordable housing schemes? Also, can the system support so many people going online at the same time? How do we ensure the discussion could involve the majority?” Tan questioned.
Henry Butcher’s Low said it is impossible to give waivers or discounts as the JMBs and MCs may not have enough funds otherwise.
“Even if we give a discount, service providers may not give us a discount as maintenance, repair or cleaning works have to be carried on as usual,” said Low.
Such requests are also considered unfair to other property owners and to the property managers. During the MCO period for instance, the load level on the property was even higher as everyone was required to stay at home.
Lee concurred saying that the move would be “penny wise, pound foolish”.
“MCO is the time where everyone stays at home and if the buildings are not well-kept, many infrastructure and systems like sewage systems and piping, would fail. Reducing the maintenance charges will ‘sink’ the property’s maintenance level,” he said.
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For the full report on the virtual Fireside Chat read the May 29, 2020 issue of Edgeprop.my ePub.
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