Parc Oasis owners upset over parking fee proposal in private condo

Condo trying to raise money in bid to cover shortfall in maintenance fund

SOME owners at Parc Oasis in Jurong East are up in arms over attempts by the condominium's management council to raise funds and cut costs to cover a shortfall in the maintenance fund.

The revenue-raising plans involve imposing parking fees, but the proposals have caused friction between residents.

Two meetings have already been held with no resolution, and another is set for tomorrow, with owners expecting more rows.

The issue is money. The management council told residents last month that it expects a $118,000 deficit for the year to June 30, and $353,000 in the next fiscal year.

The council says that one reason is pricier cleaning, security and landscape contracts.

Another reason, it says, is the need for more funds to maintain the 18-year-old condo, which has leaking pipes in the carpark, for example.

But a resident in her late 50s who wanted to be known only as May said: "We don't know what is happening. Yet, you ask us for money; you are confusing us."

The latest move to raise cash at the 950-unit condo, where units sell for about $920 per sq ft, will take place tomorrow when owners will be asked to back new parking charges and raised contributions to the management fund.

Owners pay a maintenance fee of $834.60 per quarter with no parking fee. There are 950 carpark spaces, but it is estimated that fewer than 800 parking labels have been issued.

One option on the table tomorrow involves a monthly parking fee of $100 for a second car and $150 for subsequent vehicles. This proposal includes increasing monthly management fees from $56 to $59 per share value.

Owners can reject parking fees, but the increase will be higher - at $64 per share value.

If both options are rejected, the management has proposed cost- cutting measures, including reducing landscaping and pest control expenses, and carrying out only repairs that concern safety.

This will be the third meeting called by the Management Corporation Strata Title (MCST) since last October.

The annual general meeting on Oct 27 last year proposed levying a $350 parking fee on an owner's third car, but this was withdrawn after residents asked the Strata Titles Board to review it.

A proposal at an extraordinary general meeting on Jan 12 to levy parking fees was also defeated.

May, who has one car, claimed the parking fees issue creates disharmony: "I have a neighbour who doesn't have cars and will vote for the resolution. Other neighbours who have more than one car are not talking to her."

A resident said: "Why don't they just charge a standard fee for every car to raise funds, instead of targeting those with more than one car, which is the minority."

Residents said they have also been irked by cost-cutting steps already imposed, including reducing the number of cleaners and security guards, and switching off lights in common areas in the day.

The MCST told The Straits Times: "A number of condominiums are charging for second and subsequent cars. Therefore, what Parc Oasis is proposing to implement is not an exception."

Experts say there are issues with managing a large development. Associate Professor Sing Tien Foo of the department of real estate at the National University of Singapore said: "This is a collective action problem, where you organise a group of people to work together. When the group is bigger, it is more difficult to arrive at a consensus."

ocheryl@sph.com.sg