All owners have a say in condo management (The Straits Times Forum)

Monday, 22 August 2016

We refer to the letters relating to condo management which were recently published.

The Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act (BMSMA) provides a framework to allow management corporations (MCSTs), which comprise all unit owners within the development, to manage their own estates. The MCST is required to elect a management council from among the unit owners to administer the day-to-day running of the estate. Council members are required under the BMSMA to serve the owners' collective interests and to exercise reasonable diligence in discharging their duties.

Specifically, the BMSMA framework requires MCSTs to ensure that a resolution is passed in a general meeting to approve the use of MCST funds for works involving additional facilities or improvements to common property.

In each financial year, to ensure accountability of the funds used, all MCSTs are required to engage a public accountant to audit their accounts. The statement of accounts must be tabled and presented to all subsidiary proprietors at the Annual General Meeting (AGM).

In addition to the provisions under the BMSMA, MCSTs can voluntarily put in place internal controls, such as specifying the minimum number of quotations for procurement or requiring different level of signatories for signing of cheques, to ensure good fiscal governance. For transparency, procedures for internal controls can be proposed at a general meeting and subsequently decided upon by the general body.

All owners have a say in the management of their estates. BCA encourages owners to attend AGMs and participate in the decision-making process. If an owner believes that the AGM has not been properly conducted or a resolution has been improperly passed, he/she can make an application to the Strata Titles Boards (STB) or go to the Courts. The STB is established under the BMSMA to mediate, hear and make an order for the settlement of disputes between the MCST and subsidiary proprietors, or between subsidiary proprietors.

The MCST may appoint a managing agent under a private agreement to help in the daily operations of the estate. To raise the standards and professionalism of managing agents, BCA is in discussion with the industry to consider implementing a training scheme for managing agents.

BCA is also reviewing the system of appointment of proxies to ensure better transparency and impose greater accountability on both the proxy giver and the proxy holder.

Lim Chong Yong
Director, Building Management Department
Building Plan and Management Group
Building and Construction Authority

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