We refer to the letter, "Protect condo managing agent staff and management councils better from abuse" (May 10).
The Association of Strata Managers (ASM) is a national association that protects the rights and safeguards the interests of strata managing agents in Singapore.
Managing agents have a wide range of duties and functions that encompass administrative, financial and operational aspects in upkeeping the strata developments.
Managing agent staff are also involved in handling disputes arising from, among other things, inter-floor seepage, carpark issues, breach of by-laws and neighbour disputes.
In handling and attempting to resolve disputes, managing agent staff may find themselves meeting hostile occupiers, who can turn abusive.
Many may recall an incident a few years ago in which a condominium manager was verbally and physically abused by two women during a meeting at the management office over an application for an access card (Twin sisters fined for assaulting condo staff, Aug 29, 2018).
Our member firms provide certain protocols for their staff in handling difficult customers. Other measures include putting up posters to advise occupiers to treat our staff with respect. Closed-circuit television cameras may also be installed in the management office to serve as a deterrence.
The lack of respect shown to managing agent staff and the non-conducive workplaces at some strata developments have led to some staff leaving the industry.
Our member firms and their staff play an important role in maintaining and upkeeping the estates. They also play an active role during the Covid-19 pandemic by monitoring and providing a safe environment for the occupiers.
Unlike security officers who are protected under the Private Security Industry Act, managing agents and their staff get little or no protection from the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act against abuse and harassment. We would argue that managing agent staff are exposed to no less risk than security officers.
ASM will continue to train our members to handle difficult or hostile situations. We are keen to work together with the authorities in bringing about change so that all stakeholders in the industry can have a safer working environment.
Seeto Kin Meng
Association of Strata Managers