More regulation needed over managing agents

A clear separation has to be made between the management council (MC) and managing agent (MA) of a condominium ("Tighten oversight of condominium management" by Mr Frankie Mao; Tuesday, and "Require condo management to submit accounts to MND" by Mr Chan Kai Yan; yesterday).

The management council is an elected body comprising subsidiary proprietors, while the managing agent is hired by the estate to handle the day-to-day running of the estate. The MC consists of volunteers, while the MA is made up of paid staff.

At the moment, even though we have the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act, the industry is not regulated.

Anyone can more or less start a company and hire anyone to be a "managing agent". There is no certification and no official umbrella organisation to regulate the industry.

Audited yearly accounts are submitted to the Building and Construction Authority after every annual general meeting. However, it is unclear what action is taken after that.

Most people enter the condominium management industry thinking it's an easy job. Since there are no clear guidelines on how to behave and act, wrongdoing is sometimes explained away as "industry practice".

The authorities should ensure that all managing agents have proper standard operating procedures on how to handle management corporation strata title (MCST) money, for example, and that they are familiar with the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act. The authorities should also set clear rules on certification for managing agents.

Wendy Chan Mei Yoke (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 11, 2016, with the headline 'More regulation needed over managing agents'. Print Edition | Subscribe