PETALING JAYA – Knock, knock, who’s there?
The answer could be the authorities, here to seize your belongings if you are a condo owner who defaulted on maintenance fees.
The Government is intensifying enforcement efforts against condominium and apartment owners who fail to pay up. And it means business.
In fact, the seizures have already begun.
For the first time under the Strata Management Act 2013, five units at an apartment in Bangi, Selangor, were raided in May because of their owners’ failure to settle fees totalling thousands of ringgit.
Movable items like flat-screen TVs, smartphones and even appliances like rice cookers and gas tanks were seized by the apartment’s management body, the Kajang Municipal Council’s Commissioner of Buildings (COB) unit, and the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry.
The items were later auctioned off to settle outstanding fees or reclaimed by the owners who finally paid up.
Such action will be stepped up to get more defaulters to toe the line.
“Similar enforcement efforts, including seizures, will be extended to various locations nationwide,” the ministry’s urban service division senior principal assistant secretary Mohd Syaifulrizal Mohd Bakar told The Star.
In fact, five other raids were conducted so far this year by the ministry, together with the respective local councils’ COB.
Mohd Syaifulrizal said there was no minimum amount of outstanding fees needed for such seizures to be conducted.
“As long as the joint management body (JMB) or management corporation (MC) of a condo or apartment has served a written notice to demand payment from the unit owner, and it is unpaid after 14 days, enforcement can take place.
“The JMB or MC can serve a warrant to the defaulters with the help of the COB and ministry,” he said.
Aside from seizing items, other actions that the JMB and MC can take include filing a summons in court against defaulters and filing a claim in the Strata Management Tribunal formed under the Act.
The Act, which came into effect in July 2015, gives more bite to management bodies in taking action against errant unit owners.
Calling it more comprehensive than the repealed Building and Common Property (Maintenance and Management) Act, Mohd Syaifulrizal said the new law had also led to a slight improvement in property management standards.
“The ministry wants more JMBs and MCs to practise better quality management and maintenance to foster a harmonious and healthy living community,” Mohd Syaifulrizal said. – The Star