• Chur Associates founder and managing partner Chris Tan equates buying a property like buying a car, where regular maintenance is needed to upkeep the performance of the car, and the same applies to properties to preserve and enhance their value.

KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 20): It takes a holistic approach to managing a strata residential property successfully, which includes financial sustainability, regular maintenance, an active community and a community that equips itself with the right property management knowledge, as discussed during the second day of The Edge Malaysia Property Management Virtual Talk 2024 on Saturday.

With a focus on “How to Destroy Your Housing Property Value”, The Edge Malaysia Virtual Talk 2024 was a two-day event held at Common Ground, Wisma UOA Damansara II in Kuala Lumpur.

Presented by City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia weekly, the virtual talk was supported by the Association of Property and Facility Managers, Architect Centre Sdn Bhd, Building Management Association of Malaysia, Institute of Landscape Architects Malaysia and EdgeProp Malaysia, with Nippon Paint as the main partner.

Saturday’s virtual talk featured two sessions hosted by Chur Associates founder and managing partner Chris Tan, and Architect Centre Sdn Bhd accredited building inspector and trainer Anthony Lee Tee respectively.

In his session titled “Get it Right from the Start”, Tan shared that good property ownership does not start from purchasing the property. Instead, it starts from developing the property development by understanding the rules and legal requirements in property development. Relevant inputs can be obtained from experts beyond developers and architects, such as those in the property management, property maintenance as well as legal industries.

Another important element in making property ownership a success is investing efforts in equipping owners with knowledge about property management.

“As properties get more sophisticated, it is worthwhile for developers to consider things like owners' orientation programmes to familiarise them with product features as well as upkeep and maintenance, besides providing a user manual to the owners where it helps them to track, guide, monitor and remind [them] of the need for regular maintenance and upkeep of the property.”

Tan equates buying a property like buying a car, where regular maintenance is needed to upkeep the performance of the car, and the same applies to properties to preserve and enhance their value.

“Just like buying a car, you should consider the cost and convenience of repairs, service, maintenance, warranty and parts availability as well as resale value. You should do the same for your property purchase. You have to understand that it is not just the absolute price tag you pay for the property alone. There are other things to consider as well. If you can do it for your car, you can do it for your property. After all, property purchase is one of the biggest financial commitments in your life.”

In the second session, “Myths vs Reality”, Lee shared three key takeaways in maintaining and managing a property to preserve and enhance its value. “Firstly, there are must-dos, which require immediate action as well as safety and security compliance. Another item is a plan-to-do, items that are not working well but can be maintained, repaired and replaced over a certain period like a year or two. Finally, [there are] nice-to-do items, which include upgrading and improvement works.”

Moreover, Lee explained how to discern or prioritise what is important and needed when it comes to maintaining a property. “There are certain rules in Malaysia that mandate a building owner to inspect your property after you get the Certificate of Completion and Compliance. For example, as you take over the property, the building needs to be inspected by an engineer every 10 years.”

Lifts need to be inspected every 15 months; gas pipelines need to be checked once every three years; electrical and mechanical elements every two years; and a fire safety certificate needs to be renewed every year.

Other components of a building that should be inspected mandatorily but are currently not include slopes and retaining walls, sewage and inspection pipes, internal gas fittings as well as overall safety inspections.

The fireside chat session was moderated by The Edge Malaysia editor emeritus Au Foong Yee, and featured Tan, Lee and Rehda Malaysia president Datuk NK Tong as panellists.

During the session titled “Beauty is Only Skin Deep”, each panellist shared their wish lists that promote well-maintained properties. This revolved around the importance of information transparency, education as well as policy and legal alignments among the involved stakeholders.

“[There is a] need for transparency in giving the property’s life-cycle cost and service charges information to the purchaser,” said Lee, as he explained that the purchaser would be well prepared in the future.

He added that there should be an additional step, where the seller should explain to the buyer what it means to be a strata property owner.

Meanwhile, Tan believed that alignment within government agencies is crucial, be it the local authority, federal ministries or the Strata Management Tribunal.

“There should be [discussions] to tackle problems and come out with suggestions for improvement, including sitting down with the local authority, federal ministries and making sure that their policies are aligned,” Tan commented. 

Tong suggested the formation of a sub-MC (management corporation) before the sale of properties: “When people come in, they recognise that there will be a sub-MC and they will belong to a particular sub-MC. That way, they go in with [their] eyes wide open. Right now, it's difficult to get a two-thirds majority. By doing this earlier, this could resolve many issues that could arise in the future.” 

Moreover, Tong suggested the requirement for MC members to attend a one-day programme that guides and educates the members on their duties, rights, liabilities and obligations.

Au is the chief judge of The Edge Malaysia’s Best Managed & Sustainable Property Awards 2023, while Tan, Lee and Tong are judges for the awards.

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