Management councils can be as big a problem as proxy issue

I read the report, Plan to limit proxies one can hold at condo meetings (Feb 2), with interest.

Multiple proxies held by subsidiary proprietors (SP) is only one issue. An equally serious problem is sometimes the condominium's management council (MC).

MCs have many powers which create potential for abuse, as Straits Times readers have been pointing out as far back as last year (Mr Chan Kai Yan in Require condo management to submit accounts to MND; Aug 10, 2016).

At my estate, annual general meetings are always held on weekday afternoons, despite requests by some SPs to change it to weekends.

Naturally, as a result, SP attendance is very low. Some of our MC members even carry multiple proxies.

This results in MC members dominating the proceedings and getting resolutions passed easily.

For instance, they have little difficulty even in increasing the condo's high maintenance fees further. MC members are also given free parking, while other SPs have to pay.

A company related to the developer is often put forward as the prime candidate for reappointment as managing agent.

Most of our MC members have been in office for a long time. The chairman has been in office since its formation - over 10 years now.

All MCs potentially face issues of conflicts of interest, abuse of power, breach of fiduciary duties, transparency and accountability to SPs.

I hope the Ministry of National Development and the relevant authorities can advise estates like mine on what action can be taken, and that they keep these concerns of condo owners in mind in the present review of the Building Maintenance And Strata Management Act.

Ho Meng Hee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 28, 2017, with the headline 'Management councils can be as big a problem as proxy issue'. Print Edition | Subscribe