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Letters about the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act (BMSMA) (TODAY Voices)

Friday, 6 June 2014

We refer to the letters relating to the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act (BMSMA) which were published in TODAY over the last few weeks.

The BMSMA provides a legal framework for management corporations (MCSTs) to manage and maintain their strata-titled properties. The Act spells out the duties and obligations of various stakeholders such as the subsidiary proprietor (SP), management corporation (MCST), council members and managing agents (MAs), and empowers the MCST to make decisions in the interest of the estate. The review of the BMSMA by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) is ongoing and we are taking into account the feedback that we have received from various stakeholders.

As part of the review, BCA is proposing to tighten the proxy system to prevent abuse and ensure a fairer voting process.

The prevailing condition of having a quorum of at least two SPs to be present before a general meeting commences, would ensure that general meetings can proceed and timely decisions on the running of the estate can be made.

BCA agrees with the views that there should be transparency in reflecting expenses, including the payment of fines to regulatory bodies for non-compliance.

There was a suggestion for a limit to the tenure of council members and MAs. Currently, all council members are elected on a yearly term and can be re-elected for another term, except for the post of Treasurer which is limited to two consecutive terms. This allows existing council members, especially those in smaller strata-titled properties, to continue serving the interest of their estates.

The BMSMA also allows MAs to be appointed for a three-year term. This can be renewed, subject to a review of their performance at each annual general meeting (AGM). All SPs are encouraged to attend the meetings so that they can provide their input on major decisions relating to their estate.

Similarly, BCA agrees with the views that it is important for MAs to possess the required skill set and capability to advise the MCST on its role and responsibilities under the BMSMA. Therefore, BCA will be proposing a training requirement for all MAs to raise the standards and professionalism of the MA industry.

In view of the increasing trend to communicate via electronic means, we are also proposing amendments to the BMSMA to allow MCSTs the option of sending notices electronically.

To provide greater clarity on the provisions under the BMSMA, BCA will be publishing a series of strata management guides. These guides will explain the procedures and provisions of the BMSMA in laymen terms and they may be referred to for good practices. In addition, BCA will be organising a series of seminars to apprise new and existing council members on the key areas of BMSMA and their statutory duties.

As the BMSMA empowers MCSTs and SPs to manage their strata-titled properties, we would like to urge all SPs to participate actively in the decision-making process during the general meetings. In the event that there are differences that cannot be resolved amicably, MCSTs and SPs can apply to the Strata Titles Board (STB) for mediation and hearing as provided for under the Act.

We thank all writers for their suggestions and feedback on the BMSMA and would like to assure all stakeholders that feedback relating to purported breaches of the BMSMA will be duly considered by BCA. Enforcement action may be taken should we discover that the breach relates to an offence prescribed under the BMSMA.

Chin Chi Leong
Commissioner of Buildings
Group Director, Building Plan and Management
Building and Construction Authority

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