February 28, 2009

Residents Association

Tonight the residents association within my area was elected to represent the residents in providing a voice to the people who live here. It was a simple meeting where the pro-tem committee presented their activities the whole 2008/2009 year and then the election was done for the real committee for 2009/2010. This new housing area can now try to build a platform for the betterment of the quality of living here. As a new housing area the place does not have to much problems. The people who were elected are capable enough to run the association.

The pro-tem committee at my place passing the baton

I am actually writing a book on matters relating to real estate and a part of it is in regard to resident association. The importance of it is not apparent in landed property like mine, especially where there are a lot of phases still in the midst of being build. The developer is still very much in control of the facilities and well-being of the residents. The importance of resident association is more important in strata development or buildings as each units depends on other units figuratively and literally.

Figuratively as in all residents need to support each other against their perennial 'other party' which is the developer and literally as each unit depends on the other units to be complete. Strata itself means 'on the air' and you can't have a condominium or an apartment or a duplex without another unit either being below, on top, at the right and the left of you. So, you are actually relying on other units within the development to even just exist.

In Malaysia, before 20th April 2007, before a strata title (a piece of paper issued by the land office) is given out to a stratified title development, all power to collect fees and maintain the well-being of the facilities of a stratified development was left to the developer. Yes, you guessed it, the developer, being a profit-making institution had managed to abuse this power resulting in bad press and worse, various maintenance problems. Arguments and finger pointing have always revolved around the failure of developer maintaining the facilities e.g. elevators and the developer had always had a problem in collecting the maintenance fees. It was like the chicken and egg story (a writer who was with a condo residents association once even wrote a book titled Chicken and Egg)

When a new Act was enacted to govern a new concept of giving the power to collect fees and maintain facilities to a type of a resident association which consist of the developer as a minority stakeholder and the residents as those with most interest, it was supposed to be a dawn of a new way on how management of stratified residential buildings in Malaysia. That was the plan. Now, nearly two years down the road, there is a lot things still to be desired and stories on power struggle within these developments are rampant. What I will try to do here is to start a series of sort on the power and the problem facing these residents association. It is more as a rough template of some of the topics within my book.
to be continued...

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