Home owners should take more interest in how condos are run

It is true that turnout at annual general meetings (AGMs) of a condominium management corporation is often low ("Require condo management to submit accounts to MND" by Mr Chan Kai Yan; yesterday).

Thus, it appears that most home owners lack interest in the running of their own estates.

Furthermore, most of them assume that the responsibility of running the estate and the safekeeping of all maintenance fees and sinking funds have been duly delegated to the elected management council, and that if things go wrong, their recourse is legal action.

However, if, as Mr Chan has suggested, the Ministry of National Development (MND) requires all condominium management councils to submit their audited financial statements and reports to the MND, then, it implies that the ministry will also take over the supervision and moral obligations for the financial management of all private condo and strata-titled estates.

It will then have to devote manpower and other resources to enforce the timely submissions of the accounts and to scrutinise the accounts submitted by all condo management councils.

This is a very unsatisfactory allocation of public resources.

At every AGM, home owners are expected to vote for the appointment of the council, the scrutiny and approval of past accounts submitted and the budget for the next operational year.

They are also expected to approve a review of the collection of maintenance fees and sinking funds, management reports on the running of the estate and many other issues related to estate management.

Home owners can also attend monthly council meetings as observers to monitor the conduct of their appointed council on a regular basis.

Most home owners are interested in the proceedings only as long as there is no increase in maintenance fees or sinking find contributions, no breakdown or disruption to common facilities and the estate is run smoothly.

As a growing proportion of our population is moving towards private condo and strata-titled housing estates, all home owners must be aware and ready to accept the reality, costs and responsibilities of living in a condo or any strata-titled estate.

Sum Kam Weng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 11, 2016, with the headline 'Home owners should take more interest in how condos are run'. Print Edition | Subscribe