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Before Owning a Condo - What to Know

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Before Owning a Condo:
What to know


Thinking of buying and staying in a condominium? The roles and responsibilities are different from staying in an HDB flat or landed property. It is important for first-time condominium buyers to fully understand the considerations of owning a condominium unit, before purchasing one.


IN THIS GUIDE:



SECTION 1

4 things to know

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1.   Condos are managed on self-governance as empowered by the Building Management and Strata Management Act (BMSMA).

In cases of neighbourly disputes, all affairs and disputes between you and your neighbour or management council are private affairs. If you are unable to privately resolve disputes or arguments between the involved parties, the parties should escalate the matter to the Strata Titles Board for resolution.

Government agencies are not empowered to compel the actions of individuals in these private affairs, unless offences are committed or where public health and safety are compromised.

As a condo owner, you will have to manage potential neighbourly disputes and conflicts privately.

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2.   Condo owners are part of the Management Corporation (MC), which is similar to being a stakeholder / shareholder of a company.

As a condo owner, it is important for you to cooperate and play an active role in the running and maintenance of the whole estate by:
  1. attending and voting at general meetings;
  2. paying maintenance fees and other payments for maintenance of common property on time, and
  3. abiding by all house rules and by-laws


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3.   All by-laws enacted via voting by the Management Corporation (MC) will have to be adhered to, whether you voted for them or not.

Possible restrictions may include noise curfews, pets, parking or even features such as the installation of balcony grilles. Therefore, you may wish to consider if you are comfortable living in a place where democratic decisions are made and where the majority may or may not agree with your views.

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4.   To be able to enjoy well-maintained facilities, you will need to contribute to the maintenance of all common amenities.

It is important to bear in mind that there may be possible increase in monthly contributions as part of a regular review. For example, when there are unexpected repairs or when certain ‘complimentary’ services become payable beyond a fixed period (e.g. shuttle bus services). In addition, maintenance and repairs to common property may not be carried out immediately upon request as these often depend on the processes in place to effect the works, as well as the urgency of the works.

Do consider if you are able to accept increases in your monthly fees should part of the common property in your estate require urgent repairs or due to increasing maintenance costs over time.

FAQs

Each estate will have its own arrangement for paying of maintenance contributions, and the consequences for late payment. When your contribution becomes more than 30 days overdue, it will bear interest at a rate that is determined by the Management Corporation (MC), unless the Management Corporation (MC) has decided (via voting at the Annual General Meeting) not to charge one, and the Management Corporation (MC) may serve you a written demand for the outstanding sum. If you fail to pay the outstanding sum within 14 days after the written demand has been served, this may amount to an offence and may result in a fine.
There are certain restrictions on the types of hacking works you are permitted in your unit. Structural elements such as beams, columns and walls should not be altered without proper assessment by a Professional Engineer and approval from the Commissioner of Building Control. It is best to check with the developer, or seller regarding any other restrictions on renovation works.
You are not allowed to make any alterations to features fixed on the external building such as external windows and external walls (note that this may include balcony walls), without approvals from the Management Corporation (MC) and any relevant government agencies.
Some condominium estates may have design guidelines that you must follow when installing windows grilles, to ensure the uniformity in the building appearance.

If you intend to carry out any improvements or additions to your unit which may affect the appearance of any building in the estate e.g. addition of private enclosed space awnings or coverings, grilles or blinds in balconies, etc., you will need to first consult your developer / Management Corporation (MC) to confirm if their permission and agreement are required before carrying out the works in your unit. You may check with the developer or seller on any restrictions.




In this guide:


Disclaimer

This guide has been prepared by the Building and Construction Authority (“BCA”), and is not intended to be a legal interpretation of laws including the BMSM Act or legal advice. Potential condominium buyers should seek professional legal advice if they wish to better understand their legal rights and duties. The Commissioner of Buildings, BCA and any other agency shall not be liable for any reliance on any information contained in this guide by any person.

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