• There is an increase on the issue of leakage between floors.
  • Claims through SMT are easy, fast and cheap.

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 24): Of the six common types of claims in the Strata Management Tribunal (SMT), 80% are related to collection or payment of fees, including maintenance charges and contributions, debts and interests, and unit shares.

According to the Housing and Strata Management Tribunal (HSMT) deputy chairman Abdul Rani Megat Kassim, the common types of SMT claims are collections or payments, meeting-related issues, by-laws, matters relating to building commissioners, damages, and management operations.

“For common claim issues, 80% are regarding payment collections, 10% are related to meetings ... plus minus 10% in management operations, and also now there is an increase in issues of leakage between floors,” he said during the presentation of a paper entitled Strata Management Tribunal (Processes and Challenges) at the inaugural First-Class Strata-Management Symposium 2022 in Kuala Lumpur recently.

Abdul Rani explained thoroughly about HSMT and the issues of duties and powers of housing developers, management bodies and committee members in strata managements.

“The jurisdiction of the SMT is to hear and determine any claims specified in Part 1 of the Fourth Schedule, Act 757; for claims that do not exceed RM250,000.00; and there is no time limit,” Abdul Rani said.

He said the Fourth Schedule in Act 757 includes a list of 14 issues and disputes that can be brought to SMT.

According to SMT, there are eight parties who have the rights to file claims or who have locus standi – stakeholders, managing agents, developers, proprietors, buyers, joint management bodies, management corporations (MC) and sub-MC.

“These stakeholders can be an issue because sometimes individuals are represented by other parties such as husband or wife, where this is not allowed, as a general rule. Only lawyers are allowed to represent these parties,” said Abdul Rani.

Filing a claim cost on RM100

Abdul Rani also explained the claim process at Tribunals for Homebuyers’ Claim and SMT.

“The claim process is very easy, fast and cheap ... where the filing only costs RM100,” he said.

According to Abdul Rani, the claimant only files Form 1 (Statement of Claim) stating the facts and the issues that brought the party to SMT.

“After that, we will give Form 4 (Notice of Hearing) to the claimant ... the hearing date is set after Form 4 is confirmed,” he said.

Abdul Rani said the parties involved can continue to discuss their respective cases about the issues in question, unless the issues involve facts, then witnesses will be needed to prove the validity of the facts.

“Only after that can you make an appropriate decision,” he said.

SMT will issue an Award After Hearing (Form 11) based on an assessment of the facts and laws involved, and if there is an agreement between the two parties, SMT will issue an Award by Consent (Form 6).

If either the claimant or the respondent is not present on the hearing date and an award is issued by the SMT against the claimant or the respondent, the claimant or the respondent may apply to set aside the award.

An application to set aside the award can be made by filing an Application for Setting Aside Award (Form 16) within 30 days from the date the award is submitted to the claimant or the respondent.

The award (decision) issued by SMT is final and binding on all parties to the case proceedings. If there is a default on the award, the aggrieved party must give notice of the default on the award to SMT.

The secretary of the SMT will then send a copy of the award made to the Magistrate's Court or Sessions Court and the award will be recorded in the relevant Civil Court, whereby the SMT will deliver the award to the aggrieved party after receiving the award back.

Cultivating a sense of responsibility among strata managements

The symposium, organised by the Kuala Selangor Municipal Council (MPKS), aimed to provide a better understanding on the workings of strata management, including the legal and financial aspects, for management committee members, representatives of government agencies and real estate management firms, and to help instil a sense of responsibility among the managements to act promptly in any matter related to their strata schemes.

Other papers presented by strata management experts in the symposium are Strata Management Tribunal (Current Issues and Cases) by lawyer Datuk Pretam Singh Darshan Singh; Get My Titles! by Selangor Land and Mining Office officer Aziz Hairon; and Empowerment of Enforcement in the Strata Management Act 2013 by Subang Jaya City Council building commissioner department senior assistant director Intan Rozlina Hani.

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