New Strata Management Act 2013 to affect all stakeholders

KUALA LUMPUR: The implementation of the new Strata Management Act 2013 in 2014 will impose more stringent responsibilities on home owners, joint management bodies and developers of strata properties such as condominiums, said property experts.

“This Act is going to affect everybody’s lives and lifestyle. We are always selling things in terms of concept and lifestyle and this is one of the things which will be coming along, and part of the package when you actually buy into strata properties,” said Adzman Shah Mohd Ariffin, vice-president of the Royal Institution of Surveyors Malaysia (RISM).

Adzman was speaking at a press conference for the 23rd National Real Estate Convention yesterday.

He highlighted the duty of developers to hand over the strata titles to the purchasers as soon as they hand over the keys. While in the past the strata titles might have taken as long as six months to a number of years to be transferred to the owner, the new Act requires the transfer to be done up front. This will prevent cases in which developers change the designated common property for home owners into retail space.

The Strata Management Act 2013 requires the registration of finalised plans and division of parcels within the property to be given to the commissioner in advance of completion. Developers will face higher costs in commissioning surveyors to do so, in contrast with the past, when plans were drawn up as long as up to six months after construction was completed.

The Act will impose heavier penalties on various parties. There is an increase from 10 offences in the repealed Building and Common Property (Maintenance and Management) Act 2007 to 35 offences in the current Act.

Tougher fines will be imposed on home owners who default on service charges, with punitive fines of a maximum RM5,000, compared with RM500 in the past, and imprisonment of up to three years.

The Act also sees elected joint management bodies of the strata properties facing tougher consequences for neglecting their maintenance duties.

More information on strata management will be disseminated at the 23rd National Real Estate Convention on Real Estate Realities on Oct 24. Other topics that will be covered are Asian real estate investment trusts, the property market outlook for 2014, affordable housing and changing market trends.

According to RISM president P Tangga Peragasam, with small office/home office and integrated developments, and lifestyle concepts being the current market trend, the consequences of the Strata Management Act will become more apparent in the future.

The Strata Management Act 2013 received royal assent on Feb 5 this year and Adzman said it is likely to be implemented in the first quarter next year.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on October 18, 2013.

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