JUNE 12 '” The Strata Management Act 2013 passed in the Parliament on December 19, 2012 has been enforced this month, replacing the Building and Common Property (Maintenance and Management) Act 2007.
The relatively comprehensive law is a good news for residents living in strata-title buildings, who account for 30% of the country's population. The law will significantly help in enhancing and improving their living environments.
They have been facing various problems over the years, including neighbourly relations, management and infrastructure, and the old law failed to give them a more comprehensive protection.
Many high-rise building residents have faced ownership problem in the past, namely difficulties in getting the strata title. The new law allows the process to go more smoothly and require developers to complete the procedures within a certain time period.
The new law divides the responsibilities and limits of authority among developers, local governments and residents more clearly. Mismanagement and disputes between owners and tenants could be eased and more satisfactory solutions could be expected under the new law.
The Strata Management Tribunal will start operating a month after the new law's enforcement to address problems and disputes faced by residents more easily, effectively and inexpensively, without bringing the cases to High Courts.
In improving living environment, developers and the Joint Management Body or Management Committee may establish internal regulations and fines via their annual general meetings, such as forbidding littering and disallowing pets.
Some high-rise residential buildings have faced difficulties in maintaining their tranquillity because of uncooperative residents and it is believed that such problems can be improved under the new law.
Uncooperative residents have always been a problem in maintenance work, particularly when residents of more than one unit are involved.
The new law thus allows the management authorities to enter the involved units by force for inspection if notifications are given but no response is received from the owners or residents.
The most thorny problem should be financial management and unclear accounting. Various law violations and management irregularities have always been the main factors causing conflicts.
The new law has more stringent requirements in coordinating and solving similar problems.
The new law is expected to be able to promote greater unity and create a good living environment.
The number of residents in high-rise buildings has rapidly surged following urban development and if the highly condensed living environment is not properly managed, it will add pressure on people living in urban areas.
Although laws can resolve disputes, good neighbourly relations can only be built through negotiations and understanding. It is not a good thing if everything must resort to the law.
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