All owners have a say in condo management

We refer to recent letters on condo management.

The Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act (BMSMA) provides a framework to allow management corporations (MCSTs), which comprise all unit owners within the development, to manage their own estates.

The MCST is required to elect a management council from among the unit owners to administer the day-to-day running of the estate.

Council members are required under the BMSMA to serve the owners' collective interests and to exercise reasonable diligence in discharging their duties.

Specifically, the BMSMA framework requires MCSTs to ensure that a resolution is passed in a general meeting to approve the use of MCST funds for works involving additional facilities or improvements to common property.

In each financial year, to ensure accountability of the funds used, all MCSTs are required to engage a public accountant to audit their accounts.

The statement of accounts must be tabled and presented to all subsidiary proprietors at the annual general meeting (AGM).

In addition to provisions under the BMSMA, MCSTs can voluntarily put in place internal controls, such as specifying the minimum number of quotations for procurement or requiring different levels of signatories for the signing of cheques, to ensure good fiscal governance.

For transparency, procedures for internal controls can be proposed at a general meeting and subsequently decided upon by the general body.

All owners have a say in the management of their estates.

The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) encourages owners to attend AGMs and participate in the decision-making process.

If an owner believes that the AGM has not been properly conducted or a resolution has been improperly passed, he can make an application to the Strata Titles Boards or go to the courts.

The Strata Titles Boards is established under the BMSMA to mediate, hear and make an order for the settlement of disputes between the MCST and subsidiary proprietors, or between subsidiary proprietors.

The MCST may appoint a managing agent under a private agreement to help in the daily operations of the estate.

To raise the standards and professionalism of managing agents, BCA is in discussion with the industry to consider implementing a training scheme for managing agents.

BCA is also reviewing the system of the appointment of proxies to ensure better transparency and to impose greater accountability on both the proxy giver and the proxy holder.

Lim Chong Yong

Director

Building Management Department

Building Plan and Management Group

Building and Construction Authority

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 22, 2016, with the headline 'All owners have a say in condo management'. Print Edition | Subscribe