100 per cent owners' consent not needed for building conservation

In a commentary, Assistant Professor Yeo Kang Shua questioned why 100 per cent of owners' consent is needed for voluntary conservation of strata-titled developments, like Pearl Bank Apartments, compared with a lower threshold of 80 per cent consent for collective sales (Safeguarding post-Independence 'Pearls'; March 6).

Under the Voluntary Conservation Scheme, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) does not stipulate a threshold of support from the owners in the conservation of a building. Instead, URA considers each proposal based on its conservation merits, taking into account the longer-term development plans for the area.

In the case of the Pearl Bank Apartments, the Management Corporation Strata Title (MCST) council put up a proposal in 2014 not just to conserve the Pearl Bank Tower Block, but also to construct a new block within the development.

This new block would have added new subsidiary proprietors to the development and changed the aggregate share value of all the lots.

This would have resulted in a significant dilution of the rights of existing owners.

Under the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act, the aggregate share value of all the lots in an MCST cannot be altered after an MCST is constituted.

Instead, the MCST has to terminate the strata scheme and allow for the reconstitution of a new MCST with an equitable share allocation for all subsidiary proprietors.

It is this termination of a strata scheme that requires a resolution by consensus - that is, 100 per cent consent from the subsidiary proprietors.

Chou Mei (Ms)
Group Director, Conservation and Urban Design
Urban Redevelopment Authority

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 16, 2018, with the headline '100 per cent owners' consent not needed for building conservation'. Print Edition | Subscribe