More regulations for condo management could raise costs

Being a member of a condominium management council, I share Mr Chan Kai Yan's concerns ("Require condo management to submit accounts to MND"; Wednesday) as well as those of Mr Frankie Mao ("Tighten oversight of condominium management"; Tuesday).

However, I have my own reservations about having more regulations.

First, council members are voted in by other residents during an annual general meeting (AGM), which means that the residents trust them to serve their needs.

Having more regulations may result in fewer residents willing to step forward and serve in the council ("More controls may curb resident involvement" by Dr Gil Simon Schneider; yesterday).

Second, as mentioned by Mr Chan, those at an AGM, including council members, may not have the necessary accounting expertise to scrutinise financial statements.

So, they already depend on a third party - the managing agent and its financial team - for advice on all matters related to the management of the condominium.

Third, the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act governing the management of the council is adequate and balanced.

Any additional regulations will likely raise costs, including the fees of managing agents, because of additional requirements. Are residents prepared for higher maintenance fees?

Lastly, to prevent any abuse of power, it would be better to regulate the managing agents, not the management councils, as they are the ones advising the councils and preparing all documents and payments ("More regulation needed over managing agents" by Ms Wendy Chan Mei Yoke; Thursday).

I also encourage residents to be proactive if they see any abuse of power. They should attend council meetings to observe the proceedings ("Home owners should take more interest in how condos are run" by Mr Sum Kam Weng; Thursday).

As Mr Chan said, turnouts at AGMs are often very low, yet these are the occasions that residents, especially those with expertise in certain areas, should attend, to share their complaints or observations.

In fact, more should step forward and serve in the council.

Leong Kok Seng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 13, 2016, with the headline 'More regulations for condo management could raise costs'. Print Edition | Subscribe